Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels including oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can cause all kinds of health and breathing issues. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are loose, CO could leak out into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Boynton Beach can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to learn 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 review 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 comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is released. It usually scatters over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach elevated concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's regarded as a hazardous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels could increase without anyone noticing. That's why it's crucial to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is ideal for discerning evidence of CO and warning you using 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 especially popular due to its prevalence and affordable price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that use these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

As we stated before, the carbon monoxide the furnace creates is usually removed safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems since they possess sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it passes concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity 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. A shortage of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're exposed to dangerous levels of CO over a long period of time, you can experience the following symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less dangerous signs) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members experiencing symptoms simultaneously, it may be a sign that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you suspect you are struggling with CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and contact 911. Medical providers can ensure your symptoms are treated. Then, contact a trained technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will uncover where the gas is escaping.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. Verify that your furnace is appropriately 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 using appliances that emit carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run constantly, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal indoors. Not only could it make a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Boynton Beach. A broken down or faulty furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms recognize CO gas much earlier than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's vital to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping adequate time to exit the home. It's also a great idea to install carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or your water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should consider extra CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you'd want to install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than fixing the leak once it’s been located. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Boynton Beach to qualified professionals like A2Z Air Inc. They know how to install your chosen make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.