Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuel like oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can trigger all kinds of health and breathing problems. Thankfully, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely out of your house. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are loose, CO might get into your house.

While quality furnace repair in Wyandotte can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors in 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 breathing easy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas made up of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel like wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is produced. It generally disperses over time because CO gas weighs less 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 viewed as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels could climb without anybody noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for recognizing faint traces of CO and notifying everyone in the house with the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any type of fuel is combusted. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace because of its prevalence and affordable price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

Like we mentioned before, the carbon monoxide a furnace emits is usually removed safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they offer adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After 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 ability to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Insufficient oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're in contact with dangerous levels of CO over a long period of time, you may experience the following 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 detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less serious symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members experiencing symptoms concurrently, it may be indicative that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you suspect you have CO poisoning, exit the house right away and contact 911. Medical experts can ensure your symptoms are controlled. Then, call a certified technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should find where the gas is leaking.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and seal off the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a bit of time to locate the exact spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can work on 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 would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run around the clock, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside your home. Not only does it create a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Wyandotte. A broken or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much earlier than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to put in at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping sufficient time to exit the home. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, especially large homes should consider additional CO detectors for equal protection for the entire house.

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

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than resolving the leak after it’s been found. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Wyandotte to licensed specialists like Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning. They recognize how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.