Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels including oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can lead to a lot of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are built with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely away from the house. But if a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are damaged, CO might leak into your house.

While professional furnace repair in Kingsville can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to recognize the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll review more facts about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps to keep you and your family breathing easy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is released. It normally scatters over time because CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach elevated concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's considered a dangerous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without somebody noticing. This is the reason why it's essential to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for identifying the presence of CO and notifying everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is ignited. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace as a result of its prevalence and affordable price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, such as:

  • Water heaters
  • Stoves
  • Ovens
  • Fireplaces
  • Wood stoves
  • Hot tubs
  • and more

As we mentioned above, the carbon monoxide your furnace creates is ordinarily vented safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation due to the fact that they have sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to move oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. A shortage of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're in contact with hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you may experience a number of symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

At even more potent levels, the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less dangerous symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members struggling with symptoms simultaneously, it can be a sign that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, get out of the house straight away and call 911. Medical experts can see to it that your symptoms are controlled. Then, call a professional technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can determine where the gas is leaking.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to locate the right spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can manage to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is properly vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or someplace else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running night and day, squandering energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it leave a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Kingsville. A broken or faulty furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms recognize CO gas much faster than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's crucial to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping enough time to get out. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or a water heater. And finally, especially large homes should consider even more CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the aforementioned recommendations, you'll want to install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

  • One alarm can be set up close to the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm can be placed around the kitchen.
  • Both the third and fourth alarms can be installed near or within bedrooms.

Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than repairing the leak when it’s been located. A great way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Kingsville to licensed professionals like Four Seasons Air Conditioning and Heating LLC. They know how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.