Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels such as oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can cause all kinds of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely outside of your home. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are loose, CO can leak into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Muldrow can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to learn the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll share more facts 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 comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is created. It generally breaks up over time because CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach elevated concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a hazardous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may rise without anyone noticing. This is why it's important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is perfect for discerning evidence of CO and notifying everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any form of fuel is burned. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly popular because of its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we outlined before, the carbon monoxide your furnace emits is ordinarily vented safely away from your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems due to the fact that they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's ability to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Insufficient oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're subjected to hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you could experience the following symptoms:

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

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

These symptoms (namely the less serious ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members experiencing symptoms concurrently, it can be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, leave the house immediately and contact 911. Medical professionals can see to it that your symptoms are controlled. Then, call a professional technician to examine 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 the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a while 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 are some things you can do to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is correctly vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run around the clock, needlessly consuming energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside. Not only will it leave a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Muldrow. A broken or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much faster than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's important to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to get out. It's also a great idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or a water heater. Finally, especially large homes should consider extra CO detectors for consistent protection for the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above suggestions, you'd want to install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

  • One alarm can be placed close to the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm should be put in around the kitchen.
  • And the third and fourth alarms should be installed near or in bedrooms.

Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than repairing the leak after it’s been located. A great way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Muldrow to licensed specialists like Air Service Co.. They understand how to install your desired make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.