Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels such as oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a complication of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can lead to all kinds of health and breathing complications. Luckily, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely out of your house. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are broken, CO might leak into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Hasbrouck Heights can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll offer up more information about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps to keep you and your family breathing easy.

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 combusts, carbon monoxide is released. It usually breaks up over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach elevated concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a dangerous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels could climb without anyone noticing. That's why it's vital to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is ideal for recognizing the presence of CO and notifying you via the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any form of fuel is burned. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly popular because of its wide availability and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

Like we outlined earlier, the carbon monoxide the furnace generates is normally released safely outside of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning because they offer adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capacity to carry oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. A shortage of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're in contact with dangerous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a variety of symptoms:

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

At even higher levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less serious symptoms) are often mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members experiencing symptoms simultaneously, it can be a sign that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and contact 911. Medical providers can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should identify where the gas is leaking.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and seal the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to locate the correct spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can manage to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is correctly vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or somewhere else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run around the clock, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside your home. Not only will it create a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Hasbrouck Heights. A broken or defective furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most importantly, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much sooner than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's crucial to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to evacuate safely. It's also a good idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or your water heater. And finally, particularly large homes should think about installing even more CO detectors for uniform coverage of the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, including the basement. With the aforementioned recommendations, you'd want to set up three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

  • One alarm can be installed around the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm can be placed near 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 more effective than repairing the leak after it’s been discovered. An easy way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Hasbrouck Heights to certified experts like ACE Solutions. They recognize how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.