Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels including oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in all sorts of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are built with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely outside of your house. But when a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are damaged, CO could leak out into your house.

While professional furnace repair in Tucker can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to learn the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll review more info about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family healthy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas made up of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is created. It generally disperses over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide will sometimes reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's considered a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels could increase without somebody noticing. That's why it's crucial to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is perfect for discerning the presence of CO and notifying your family via the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is combusted. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace because of its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that use these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

Like we mentioned earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is normally removed safely out of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capacity to transport oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. A shortage of oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're exposed to hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a variety of symptoms:

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

At even more potent levels, the potential health problems 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 loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less serious symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members struggling with symptoms simultaneously, it might be a sign that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house immediately and call 911. Medical providers can see to it that your symptoms are controlled. Then, contact a professional technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can uncover where the gas is leaking.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal off the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to uncover the right spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is adequately vented and that there are no blockages in the flue pipe or somewhere else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run constantly, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside. Not only does it leave a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Tucker. A broken or malfunctioning furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most importantly, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms recognize CO gas much faster than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's vital to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping enough time to exit the home. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Lastly, very large homes should look at extra CO detectors for uniform distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, including the basement. With the aforementioned recommendations, you'd want to put in three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than resolving the leak after it’s been located. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Tucker to trained experts like ACS Heating and Air Conditioning. They know how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.