Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels such as oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can trigger all sorts of health and breathing complications. Luckily, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely away from your house. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are broken, CO might get into your home.

While high quality furnace repair in Northglenn can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to recognize the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll offer up more info about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas made up of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It normally breaks up over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a dangerous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels can increase without somebody noticing. This is the reason why it's essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is ideal for identifying the presence of CO and alerting your family using the alarm system.

What Produces 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 popular because of its wide availability and low price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that use these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

Like we outlined above, the carbon monoxide a furnace generates is normally vented safely out of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation due to the fact that they have adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capability to transport oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Insufficient 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 a variety of symptoms:

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

At even more potent levels, the symptoms 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 loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less serious signs) are easily mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms concurrently, it may be evidence that there's CO gas in your home. If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and call 911. Medical providers can make sure your symptoms are managed. Then, contact a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will identify where the gas is leaking.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and fix the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take some time to locate the correct spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can manage to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any clogs in the flue pipe or someplace else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run constantly, squandering energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside your home. Not only could it create 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, make sure the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Northglenn. A broken or defective furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms recognize CO gas much faster than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's vital to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, including 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 smart idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or your water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should consider extra CO detectors for uniform protection for the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, including the basement. With the above guidelines, you should install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing 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 trusting furnace installation in Northglenn to qualified professionals like Northglenn Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.. They understand how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.