Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuel like oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can cause all kinds of health and breathing complications. Luckily, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely out of your home. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are cracked, CO can get into your house.

While professional furnace repair in Marshalltown can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to be familiar with 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 offer up more facts about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan 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 produced. It normally scatters over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's considered a dangerous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may climb without somebody noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is capable of recognizing the presence of CO and warning everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any kind of fuel is burned. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace as a result of its availability and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide your furnace creates is normally released safely away from your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems due to the fact that they possess adequate 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 in your lungs, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capacity to move oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate 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 concentrations of CO over a long period of time, you could 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 being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less severe ones) are easily mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it could be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you suspect you have CO poisoning, exit the house right away and contact 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are managed. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll determine the source and seal the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a while to locate the exact 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 do to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is properly vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, squandering energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside your home. Not only will it make a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Marshalltown. A broken down or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much quicker than humans can.

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. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping enough time to evacuate safely. It's also a great idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, especially large homes should look at additional CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above guidelines, you'd want to install three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than fixing the leak after it’s been discovered. An easy way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Marshalltown to qualified specialists like B & G HVAC. They recognize how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.