Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels including oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in a lot of health and breathing complications. Thankfully, 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 broken, CO could leak into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Temple/Belton can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll review 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 made up of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It usually scatters over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's considered a dangerous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels may rise without somebody noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is capable of identifying evidence of CO and alerting you with the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is ignited. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly common as a result of its wide availability and low price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that require these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

Like we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide your furnace creates is usually vented safely outside of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning because they offer proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's ability to transport oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Insufficient oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're in contact with harmful amounts of CO over a long period of time, you can experience the following symptoms:

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

At even more potent levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less severe ones) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it can be indicative that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you think you are struggling with CO poisoning, leave the house right away and contact 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are managed. Then, contact a professional technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will uncover where the gas is leaking.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll determine the source and seal the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a bit of time to locate the exact spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can manage to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is properly vented and that there are no obstructions 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, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run night and day, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside. Not only will it make a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using 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 permit carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Temple/Belton. A broken down or defective furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms detect CO gas much earlier than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, as well as the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to exit the home. It's also a great idea to install carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or a water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should think about installing additional CO detectors for consistent coverage of the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the previously mentioned recommendations, you'd want to set up three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always better than repairing the leak when it’s been found. An easy way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Temple/Belton to certified professionals like Bell Air Conditioning Inc. They understand how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.