Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuel like oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a complication of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can cause all kinds of health and breathing complications. Thankfully, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely away from the house. But in the event a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are damaged, CO can get into your house.

While high quality furnace repair in Buellton can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also important to know the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more information about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps to keep you and your family breathing easy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is created. It generally scatters over time because 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 viewed as a harmful gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without somebody noticing. That's why it's crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is perfect for recognizing faint traces of CO and alerting your family with the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any type of fuel is burnt. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly popular as a result of its wide availability and low price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, lots 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 mentioned earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace emits is normally vented safely out of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems due to the fact that they possess proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to move oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. A shortage of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with harmful concentrations of CO over a long period of time, you could experience the following symptoms:

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

At even higher levels, the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. 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 serious ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members experiencing symptoms simultaneously, it might be evidence that there's CO gas in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and call 911. Medical professionals can ensure your symptoms are treated. Then, call a trained technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should identify where the gas is leaking.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has found carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a bit of time to uncover the right spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is adequately vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or somewhere else that could 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 maximize ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run night and day, squandering energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside your home. Not only could it leave 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 use a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Buellton. A broken or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most importantly, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms recognize CO gas much faster than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to put in at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping sufficient time to get out. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should consider additional CO detectors for equal protection for the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, including the basement. With the previously mentioned recommendations, you'll want to have three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

  • One alarm should be placed near the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm can be placed around the kitchen.
  • While the third and fourth alarms should be installed near or within bedrooms.

Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than repairing the leak after it’s been located. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Buellton to qualified experts like Allstar Heating & Air Conditioning. They understand how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.