Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuel like oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in all kinds of health and breathing problems. Thankfully, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But if a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are loose, CO might get into your house.

While quality furnace repair in Port St. Lucie can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll share more info about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family healthy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is released. It generally scatters 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 doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without anyone noticing. This is why it's important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's capable of identifying faint traces of CO and notifying 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 burnt. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially popular because of its prevalence and low price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that use these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

Like we mentioned earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is ordinarily vented safely outside of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning since they offer adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's capability to carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Insufficient oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're exposed to hazardous amounts 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 more potent levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less serious signs) are frequently mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members struggling with symptoms at the same time, it can be evidence that there's CO gas in your home. If you believe you are struggling with CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and call 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are managed. Then, contact a trained technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should determine where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and seal off the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a while to find the right spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can work on to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or someplace else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run constantly, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside your home. Not only could it leave 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 own a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Port St. Lucie. A broken down or defective furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much sooner than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, including the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping enough time to exit the home. It's also a smart idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or a water heater. And finally, especially large homes should think about installing extra CO detectors for uniform protection for the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the above recommendations, you should set up three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always better than fixing the leak once it’s been located. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Port St. Lucie to trained professionals like Custom Air Systems Inc. They know how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.