Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuels such as oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can result in all kinds of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are loose, CO could leak into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Derby can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to recognize the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also set up 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 composed of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is released. It usually disperses over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach more potent concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a dangerous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can climb without somebody noticing. This is the reason why it's important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for recognizing faint traces of CO and alerting you via the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any form of fuel is burned. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace due to its prevalence and inexpensive price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

As we stated before, the carbon monoxide the furnace generates is usually released safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, most homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems because they possess adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained 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 attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Lack of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're subjected to hazardous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you could experience the following symptoms:

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

At even higher levels, the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less severe ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms concurrently, it can be evidence that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you think you are struggling with CO poisoning, leave the house immediately and call 911. Medical providers can see to it that your symptoms are controlled. 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

When a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and fix the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a while to find the correct spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can work on to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is adequately vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or anywhere 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 maximize ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running around the clock, needlessly consuming energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only could it create a mess, but it will also emit 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 allow carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Derby. A damaged or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms notice CO gas much faster than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's vital to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping enough time to evacuate safely. It's also a great idea to install carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, very large homes should think about installing even more CO detectors for uniform coverage of the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you'd want to put in three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than resolving the leak when it’s been found. One of the best ways to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Derby to trained professionals like Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning. They know how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.