Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuel like oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in all sorts of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are built with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But if a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are damaged, CO could leak out into your house.

While high quality furnace repair in Dresden can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to recognize the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll offer up more information about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan 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 fuel like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It generally disperses over time since CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide will sometimes reach elevated concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a hazardous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels could climb without anyone noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is capable of recognizing the presence of CO and warning your family via the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is combusted. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly popular as a result of its availability and low price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that require these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we mentioned earlier, the carbon monoxide the furnace creates is usually removed safely out of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation since they possess adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's ability to transport oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. Insufficient oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're subjected to harmful quantities of CO over a long period of time, you may experience the following symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less dangerous signs) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it could be indicative that there's CO gas in your home. If you believe you have CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and contact 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should identify where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. See to it that your furnace is correctly vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere 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. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, squandering energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal indoors. Not only could it make a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Dresden. A broken down or malfunctioning furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms notice CO gas much earlier than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's crucial to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping adequate time to exit the home. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or your water heater. And finally, especially large homes should look at extra CO detectors for consistent coverage of the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you should set up three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than resolving the leak when it’s been located. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Dresden to qualified specialists like McFadden Heating & Cooling. They recognize how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.