Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels including oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a complication of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can cause a lot of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are cracked, CO might leak into the house.

While professional furnace repair in Chadron can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll offer up more information 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 made up of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is released. It usually scatters over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a hazardous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels may rise without anyone noticing. This is the reason why it's essential to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for recognizing the presence of CO and notifying you using the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any type of fuel is burnt. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace as a result of its prevalence and affordable price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

Like we outlined before, the carbon monoxide your furnace produces is ordinarily vented safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they have proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can bind 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 through the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Insufficient oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're exposed to dangerous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you could experience a variety of 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 heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less dangerous signs) are often mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members experiencing symptoms at the same time, it could be a sign that there's CO gas in your home. If you think you are struggling with CO poisoning, get out of the house immediately and contact 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, call a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should identify where the gas is escaping.

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 may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to locate the exact spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other signs 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 adequately vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that emit 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 be running night and day, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside. Not only does it make a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Chadron. A damaged or defective furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms notice CO gas much quicker than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping adequate time to evacuate safely. It's also a smart idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, especially large homes should think about installing extra CO detectors for uniform coverage of the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the aforementioned guidelines, you should put in three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than repairing the leak when it’s been found. A great way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Chadron to licensed experts like MPC Heating & Cooling. They recognize how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.