Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuel like oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in a lot of health and breathing problems. Thankfully, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But when a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are damaged, CO can leak into your house.

While professional furnace repair in New Castle can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to know 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 facts about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps 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 flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is created. It generally breaks up over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach more potent concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels may increase without anyone noticing. That's why it's crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is ideal for recognizing evidence of CO and alerting your family via the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any form of fuel is burnt. This includes 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. Besides your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide the furnace creates is ordinarily released safely outside of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation due to the fact that they have proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's ability to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. A shortage of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're exposed to dangerous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you can experience a variety of symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less dangerous signs) are often mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members suffering from symptoms simultaneously, it could be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and call 911. Medical providers can see to it that your symptoms are controlled. Then, contact a trained technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will identify where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has found carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal off the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a bit of time to uncover the right spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can work on to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is adequately vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that produce carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run constantly, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside. Not only could it create a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in New Castle. A damaged or malfunctioning furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms recognize CO gas much quicker than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's crucial to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping sufficient time to exit the home. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, especially large homes should consider even more CO detectors for uniform coverage of the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above recommendations, you should have three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

  • One alarm should be placed around the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm can be placed near the kitchen.
  • And 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 more effective than repairing the leak after it’s been located. One of the best ways to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in New Castle to qualified specialists like Central Heating & Plumbing. They recognize how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.