Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuels including oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can cause all sorts of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of your house. But if a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are damaged, CO can get into your house.

While high quality furnace repair in Murrieta can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to recognize the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll share more information about carbon monoxide so you can take steps 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 like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is created. It usually disperses over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a dangerous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels could rise without anybody noticing. That's why it's essential to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is ideal for recognizing faint traces of CO and notifying everyone in the house with the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced 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 wide availability and low price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that use these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

As we outlined earlier, the carbon monoxide your furnace emits is normally released safely outside of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, most homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fact that they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's ability to carry oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. Lack of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're subjected to hazardous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a variety of symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less serious symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members suffering from symptoms concurrently, it might be indicative that there's CO gas in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and call 911. Medical providers can ensure your symptoms are managed. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is escaping.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and fix the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a bit of time to find the correct spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can manage to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is adequately vented and that there are no blockages in the flue pipe or anywhere else that would 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 increase ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run constantly, needlessly consuming energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside your home. Not only could it leave 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 confined spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Murrieta. A broken or faulty furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms detect CO gas much quicker than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's important to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, as well as the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further 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 around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or a water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should look at extra CO detectors for consistent protection for the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, including the basement. With the previously mentioned suggestions, you'll want to install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than fixing the leak after it’s been found. One of the best ways to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Murrieta to qualified professionals like Cool Air Solutions. They know how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.