Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuel like oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can lead to a lot of health and breathing complications. Fortunately, furnaces are built with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely away from your house. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are broken, CO can leak into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Lodi can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to know the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll share more facts about carbon monoxide so you can take steps to keep you and your family breathing easy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is created. 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 can reach elevated concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's considered a harmful gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels could rise without someone noticing. That's why it's crucial to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's capable of discerning faint traces of CO and warning you using the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is combusted. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially popular because of its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that require these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

Like we mentioned before, the carbon monoxide your furnace emits is normally removed safely outside of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide problems since they offer proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to transport oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Lack of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're subjected to dangerous 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 symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less serious signs) are easily mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have different family members experiencing symptoms simultaneously, it might be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and call 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will determine where the gas is leaking.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. See to it that your furnace is correctly vented and that there aren't any clogs in the flue pipe or somewhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that produce carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run night and day, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only does it create a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Lodi. A broken down or faulty furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much earlier than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's crucial to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping enough time to get out. It's also a great idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, especially large homes should look at additional CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you should install three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better 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 trusting furnace installation in Lodi to qualified specialists like Tokay Heating and Air Conditioning. They recognize how to install your desired make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.