Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels including oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a complication of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can cause all sorts of health and breathing issues. Fortunately, furnaces are built with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely outside of your home. But in the event a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are broken, CO can get into your house.

While professional furnace repair in Haines City can take care of 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 inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more facts about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas composed of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It normally breaks up over time because CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach more potent concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's considered a harmful gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without anybody noticing. That's why it's important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is capable of identifying faint traces of CO and warning you using the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any form of fuel is combusted. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially common as a result of its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, lots 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 earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace emits is ordinarily removed safely out of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, most homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation since they possess sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's capacity to move oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Lack of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're exposed to dangerous levels of CO over a long period of time, you might experience the following symptoms:

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

At even more potent levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less serious ones) are often mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members suffering from symptoms concurrently, it could 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 professionals can ensure your symptoms are managed. Then, call a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can find where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can 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 manage to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is properly vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or somewhere else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that create 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 night and day, needlessly consuming energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside. Not only does it create a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Haines City. A damaged or defective furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms recognize CO gas much sooner than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's crucial to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, including the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping plenty of time to get out. It's also a smart idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or your water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should think about installing extra CO detectors for equal protection for the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the previously mentioned recommendations, you should have three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always better than resolving the leak when it’s been located. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Haines City to qualified experts like Air Commander's Heating & Air Conditioning Co.. They recognize how to install your chosen make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.