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 complication of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in a lot of health and breathing complications. Fortunately, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely outside of your house. But when a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are loose, CO might leak out into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Brookfield can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to learn the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more info 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 comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is released. It generally dissipates over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach elevated concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's considered a hazardous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels could climb without someone noticing. That's why it's important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for identifying the presence of CO and alerting everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any kind of fuel is burned. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly popular as a result of its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that require these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

As we outlined before, the carbon monoxide your furnace emits is ordinarily removed safely outside of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation due to the fact that they possess proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting 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. Lack of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're subjected to dangerous concentrations 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 detrimental. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less severe signs) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members experiencing symptoms concurrently, it could be evidence that there's CO gas in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, exit the house right away and contact 911. Medical experts can ensure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will uncover where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal off the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to find the correct spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can manage to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is adequately vented and that there are no blockages in the flue pipe or somewhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running around the clock, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only could it make 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 confined spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Brookfield. A broken down or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most importantly, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms notice CO gas much sooner than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's vital to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, including the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping enough time to get out. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, very large homes should think about installing additional CO detectors for equal protection for the entire house.

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

  • One alarm can be placed close to the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm could 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 after it’s been found. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Brookfield to certified specialists like Central Air LLC. They understand how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.