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 side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in all kinds of health and breathing issues. Luckily, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But in the event a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are loose, CO could leak out into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Neptune City can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to know the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also install 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 consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is created. It generally breaks up over time as CO gas is lighter 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 regarded as a dangerous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may climb without someone noticing. This is the reason why it's crucial to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's capable of identifying evidence of CO and notifying you using the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any form of fuel is combusted. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace because of its prevalence and low price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

Like we outlined above, the carbon monoxide your furnace produces is normally removed safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, most homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they offer proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it passes concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to transport oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Lack of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with hazardous quantities 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 side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less severe signs) are often mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members struggling with symptoms simultaneously, it might be a sign that there's CO gas in your home. If you believe you have CO poisoning, leave the house immediately and contact 911. Medical experts can ensure your symptoms are treated. Then, contact a trained technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can determine where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll determine the source and seal off the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to locate the exact spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can work on to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is adequately vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run around the clock, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside your home. Not only could it create 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 enclosed spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Neptune City. A damaged or defective furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms recognize CO gas much earlier than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's vital to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to get out. It's also a great idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or your water heater. And finally, especially large homes should consider additional CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, including the basement. With the above guidelines, you should put in three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always better than fixing the leak after it’s been discovered. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Neptune City to trained professionals like Aggressive Mechanical. They understand how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.