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 complication of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can trigger a lot of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely out of your home. But if a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are cracked, CO can leak into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in West Columbia can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to know the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll review more information 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 comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something like wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is created. It usually breaks up over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide will sometimes reach more potent concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's considered a hazardous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels may climb without somebody noticing. That's why it's essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is perfect for identifying faint traces of CO and notifying your family using the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is burned. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace as a result of its wide availability and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

As we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide your furnace creates is usually released safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, most homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems due to the fact that they offer adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it passes concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capability to carry oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. A shortage of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're in contact with dangerous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you can experience the following symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less dangerous ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members suffering from symptoms simultaneously, it could be a sign that there's CO gas in your home. If you think you are struggling with CO poisoning, exit the house right away and contact 911. Medical experts can see to it that your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a trained technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can find where the gas is leaking.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and seal off the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a bit of time to locate the right spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can work on to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any clogs 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 create carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run constantly, wasting energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it create a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using 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 permit carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in West Columbia. A broken or defective furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much sooner than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's vital to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, as well as the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping adequate time to exit the home. It's also a good idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, very large homes should look at 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 aforementioned suggestions, you should install three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than repairing the leak once it’s been located. A great way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in West Columbia to trained professionals like Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc.. They know how to install your preferred make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.