Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuel like oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in all sorts of health and breathing problems. Thankfully, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely away from the house. But in the event a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are broken, CO could leak out into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Holdrege can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors near 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 healthy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is produced. It usually scatters over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may increase without anyone noticing. This is why it's essential to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for identifying faint traces of CO and notifying your family using the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is combusted. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace as a result of its prevalence and inexpensive price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, many 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

Like we stated before, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is ordinarily released safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, most homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems because they offer adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When 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 carry oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. A shortage of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're subjected to hazardous levels of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a variety of symptoms:

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

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

These symptoms (particularly the less serious signs) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members experiencing symptoms at the same time, it might be indicative that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you suspect you have CO poisoning, get out of the house immediately and contact 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can determine 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 the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a while to find 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 limit CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there are no obstructions 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 emit carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run constantly, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not 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 confined spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Holdrege. A damaged or defective furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much earlier than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's crucial to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to evacuate safely. It's also a smart idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, particularly large homes should consider even more CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

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

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than fixing the leak after it’s been located. A great way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Holdrege to trained experts like Durable Service . They know how to install your preferred make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.