Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels such as oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can lead to a lot of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of your house. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are broken, CO might get into your house.

While professional furnace repair in Oxford can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to know the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more info about carbon monoxide so you can take steps to keep you and your family safe.

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 burns, carbon monoxide is created. It generally breaks up over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's considered a dangerous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels can climb without anyone noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's ideal for identifying faint traces of CO and notifying you via the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is burned. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially common because of its availability and inexpensive price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that use these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

Like we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace produces is normally removed safely out of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don'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 passes concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will 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, disrupting your body's capacity to transport 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 affects every part of the body. If you're in contact with hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you can experience a number of 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 loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less severe signs) are frequently mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members suffering from symptoms concurrently, it can be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and call 911. Medical professionals can ensure your symptoms are managed. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should 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 fix the leak. It might 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's what you can manage to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is adequately vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Never use 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. Do not burn charcoal indoors. Not only does it leave a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Oxford. A broken down or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most importantly, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms recognize CO gas much earlier than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's important to put in 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 sufficient time to get out. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, particularly large homes should think about installing even more CO detectors for consistent coverage of the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above guidelines, you'd want to install three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than repairing the leak after it’s been discovered. An easy way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Oxford to trained specialists like Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. They know how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.