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 result of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can lead to all kinds of health and breathing problems. Thankfully, furnaces are built with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely away from the house. But if a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are broken, CO might leak out into the house.

While quality furnace repair in Newark can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll offer up more facts about carbon monoxide so you can take steps to keep you and your family breathing easy.

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 released. It normally dissipates over time since CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may increase without anyone noticing. This is the reason why it's essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for recognizing evidence of CO and alerting everyone in the house via the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any type of fuel is ignited. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly popular because of its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that use these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we mentioned above, the carbon monoxide a furnace emits is ordinarily removed safely away from your home via the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning because they have sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's ability to transport oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. Lack of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're exposed to hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you might experience the following symptoms:

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

At even higher levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less dangerous ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it can be indicative that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house immediately and contact 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, call a professional technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a while to uncover the right spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can manage to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is correctly vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or somewhere else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that emit carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run night and day, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside your home. 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 vent out of the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Newark. A broken down or faulty furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms detect CO gas much faster than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's vital to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping enough time to get out. It's also a great idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or a water heater. Finally, especially large homes should consider even more CO detectors for uniform distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, including the basement. With the above suggestions, you'll want to put in three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

  • One alarm could be mounted near the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm should be installed around the kitchen.
  • While the third and fourth alarms could 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 once it’s been found. A great way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Newark to trained experts like Luikart Heating & Cooling. They know how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.