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 side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can lead to a lot of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But in the event a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are damaged, CO could leak out into your house.

While quality furnace repair in Dayton can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to know the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll offer up more information 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 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 generally breaks up over time because CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach elevated concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's considered a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may climb without somebody noticing. That's why it's crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's capable of identifying faint traces of CO and alerting you with the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any type of fuel is ignited. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially popular because of its prevalence and inexpensive price, making it a well-known 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

Like we stated before, the carbon monoxide a furnace generates is ordinarily removed safely outside of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation since they have sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined 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, interrupting your body's ability to transport oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Insufficient oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're subjected to hazardous 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 more potent levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less severe signs) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it may be a sign that there's CO gas in your home. If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning, get out of the house right away and contact 911. Medical experts can see to it that your symptoms are controlled. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can identify where the gas is escaping.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has found carbon monoxide in your house, they'll determine the source and seal the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a bit of time to locate the exact 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 minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is properly 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 increase 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 putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside. Not only could it make a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Dayton. A broken down or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms detect CO gas much faster than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping sufficient time to get out. It's also a smart idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should think about installing extra CO detectors for consistent coverage of the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above guidelines, you'll want to install three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always better than fixing the leak once it’s been found. A great way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Dayton to trained experts like Jent Mechanical LLC. They know how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.