Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite 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 a potentially hazardous gas that can lead to all sorts of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely out of your home. But if a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are broken, CO could get into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Naples can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll offer up more information about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps 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 burns, carbon monoxide is created. It usually disperses over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide will sometimes reach more potent concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a dangerous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels could climb without anyone noticing. This is why it's important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for discerning evidence of CO and warning everyone in the house with the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is ignited. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly common as a result of its availability and affordable price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that require these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

Like we outlined above, the carbon monoxide your furnace generates is normally vented safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they have sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's ability to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. A shortage of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're in contact with harmful levels of CO over a long period of time, you can experience the following symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less severe symptoms) are often mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have different family members struggling with symptoms simultaneously, it might be a sign that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you believe you have CO poisoning, get out of the house immediately and call 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are managed. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will uncover where the gas is escaping.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll determine the source and seal off the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take some time to uncover the exact spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can manage to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there are no clogs in the flue pipe or anywhere else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, squandering energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal indoors. Not only does it leave a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in confined spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Naples. A broken down or defective furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms notice CO gas much quicker than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's vital to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping sufficient time to exit the home. It's also a good idea to install carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or a water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should look at even more CO detectors for equal coverage of the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, including the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you should have three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than fixing the leak once it’s been discovered. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Naples to qualified experts like Speedy Air Conditioning. They understand how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.