Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuel like oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in all sorts of health and breathing complications. Thankfully, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But in the event a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are loose, CO might leak into your house.

While quality furnace repair in Muskogee can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to be familiar with the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll review more information 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 made up of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is created. It normally disperses over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach elevated concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels can climb without anybody noticing. That's why it's crucial to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for recognizing faint traces of CO and alerting everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is burned. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace as a result of its availability and inexpensive price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that use these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

Like we outlined above, the carbon monoxide your furnace creates is usually vented safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, most homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they offer proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's ability to carry oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Lack of oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're subjected to dangerous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you can experience a variety of symptoms:

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

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

These symptoms (particularly the less serious signs) are frequently mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members experiencing symptoms concurrently, it can be evidence that there's CO gas in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and contact 911. Medical professionals can ensure your symptoms are managed. Then, call a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should uncover where the gas is leaking.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. Make sure your furnace is correctly vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run night and day, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside your home. Not only will it create a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Muskogee. A damaged or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much quicker than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's important to set up 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 offers people who were sleeping adequate time to evacuate safely. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, especially large homes should look at additional CO detectors for consistent coverage of the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, including the basement. With the aforementioned recommendations, you should put in three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

  • One alarm should be mounted near the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm should be installed near the kitchen.
  • Both the third and fourth alarms should be installed near or within bedrooms.

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than fixing the leak once it’s been located. One of the best ways to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Muskogee to licensed specialists like Hix Air Conditioning Service, Inc.. They know how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.