Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuel like oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in all kinds of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely away from your home. But when a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are cracked, CO might leak out into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Auburn can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to recognize the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll offer up more info about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps to keep you and your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is released. It generally breaks up over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach more potent concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a hazardous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels may increase without somebody noticing. This is the reason why it's essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is perfect for recognizing the presence of CO and notifying you with the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any type of fuel is combusted. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially common as a result of its wide availability and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we mentioned earlier, the carbon monoxide your furnace generates is ordinarily released safely out of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fact that they possess adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's ability to carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. A shortage of oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're subjected to dangerous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you can experience a number of symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less severe symptoms) are often mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members experiencing symptoms at the same time, it may be indicative that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and contact 911. Medical experts can ensure your symptoms are managed. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can determine where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has found carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal off the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to find the right spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any clogs in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that emit carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run night and day, needlessly consuming energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside. Not only does it make a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Auburn. A damaged or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms detect CO gas much sooner than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's crucial to put in at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, including the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping sufficient time to evacuate safely. It's also a good idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or a water heater. Lastly, very large homes should look at extra CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the previously mentioned guidelines, you should install three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

  • One alarm should be installed around the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm should be set up around the kitchen.
  • Both the third and fourth alarms could be installed near or in bedrooms.

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than resolving the leak once it’s been discovered. A great way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Auburn to licensed experts like Forster Heating. They recognize how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.