Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuels such as oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can cause all sorts of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are built with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely away from your house. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are damaged, CO might leak out into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Pflugerville can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to recognize the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll review more info about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps to keep you and your family safe.

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 usually scatters over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's considered a dangerous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can climb without anybody noticing. This is the reason why it's important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for discerning evidence of CO and warning you via the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is ignited. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially popular because of its prevalence and inexpensive price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that require these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

As we outlined before, the carbon monoxide the furnace creates is usually released safely out of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation since they possess sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's capability to transport oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate 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 in contact with hazardous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you can experience a number of symptoms:

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

At even higher levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less severe symptoms) are frequently mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it might be evidence that there's CO gas in your home. If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and contact 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, contact a trained technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can find where the gas is leaking.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and fix the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a bit of time to uncover the exact spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is adequately vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside your home. Not only does it make 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 compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Pflugerville. A broken down or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms recognize CO gas much quicker than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, including the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping plenty of time to get out. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, very large homes should look at additional CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, including the basement. With the aforementioned guidelines, you'd want to put in three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

  • One alarm can be set up around the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm can be placed close to the kitchen.
  • And the third and fourth alarms can be installed near or in bedrooms.

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than resolving the leak once it’s been discovered. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Pflugerville to qualified experts like Evenaire Heating & Air Conditioning. They understand how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.