Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuel like oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can lead to a lot of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of your house. But if a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are broken, CO might leak out into your house.

While professional furnace repair in Phoenix can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential 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 steps 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 fuel like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It generally dissipates over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's considered a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels can increase without somebody noticing. This is why it's essential to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is capable of identifying evidence of CO and notifying everyone in the house with the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is burnt. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace due to its availability and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Aside from 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 stated earlier, the carbon monoxide the furnace creates is usually removed safely out of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, most homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems since they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of 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 harmful amounts of CO over a long period of time, you could experience a variety of symptoms:

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

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

These symptoms (especially the less dangerous symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it can be a sign that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and call 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, contact a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will uncover where the gas is escaping.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a bit of time to find the correct spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is correctly vented and that there are no clogs in the flue pipe or somewhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run around the clock, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside. Not only could it leave a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in confined 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. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Phoenix. A damaged or defective furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms recognize CO gas much sooner than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's vital to put in at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping sufficient time to get out. It's also a great idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, very large homes should think about installing extra CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, including the basement. With the previously mentioned guidelines, you'll want to put in three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than fixing the leak once it’s been located. One of the best ways to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Phoenix to qualified professionals like Integrity AC & Heating LLC. They understand how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.