Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels such as oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can lead to all sorts of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are damaged, CO could get into the house.

While professional furnace repair in Pocatello can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to learn the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll review more facts 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 a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is released. It generally dissipates over time since CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach more potent concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without anyone noticing. This is why it's essential to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is ideal for recognizing the presence of CO and alerting everyone in the house via the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is ignited. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace as a result of its availability and low price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that require these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

Like we outlined before, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is ordinarily released safely away from your home via the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation due to the fact that 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 Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capability to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Insufficient oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with harmful amounts of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a number of symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. 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 symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members suffering from symptoms simultaneously, it may be indicative that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and call 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, contact a professional technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will determine where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and fix the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a while to locate 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 work on to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that 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 create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run night and day, squandering energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside. Not only does it create a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in confined spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Pocatello. A damaged or malfunctioning furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most important, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms notice CO gas much faster than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's important to put in 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 offers people who were sleeping adequate time to exit the home. It's also a great idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or your water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should look at extra CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, including the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you'll want to have three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always better than repairing the leak when it’s been located. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Pocatello to certified professionals like Vogts Heating & Air. They know how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.