Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuel like oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can trigger all kinds of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But if a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are cracked, CO could leak into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Cottonwood & Prescott can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also important to know the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near 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 consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is produced. It generally disperses over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide will sometimes reach more potent concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's considered a harmful gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels may rise without anyone noticing. That's why it's important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for recognizing the presence of CO and alerting everyone in the house via the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any form of fuel is burnt. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace due to its wide availability and affordable price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide your furnace generates is usually removed safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide problems since they have adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capability to move oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Insufficient oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're in contact with hazardous quantities 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 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 unconsciousness.

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 different family members suffering from symptoms simultaneously, it may be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house right away and call 911. Medical providers can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will uncover where the gas is leaking.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and fix the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a while to uncover the correct spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or somewhere else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, such as 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 around the clock, needlessly consuming energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside. Not only does it make a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Cottonwood & Prescott. A broken or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms detect CO gas much faster than humans will.

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, as well as the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping adequate time to get out. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or the water heater. Lastly, very large homes should consider even more CO detectors for uniform protection for the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above guidelines, you should have three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than repairing the leak once it’s been discovered. A great way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Cottonwood & Prescott to trained specialists like Connolly Electric & Mechanical. They know how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.