Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels including oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in all sorts of health and breathing issues. Fortunately, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of your home. But when a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are damaged, CO might get into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Long Beach can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to be familiar with the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll offer up more information 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 composed of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is created. It usually breaks up over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide will sometimes reach more potent concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a hazardous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without somebody noticing. That's why it's crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is ideal for 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 burned. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially common due to its prevalence and low price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

As we stated above, the carbon monoxide your furnace generates is normally released safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide problems due to the fact that they have adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined 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 in your lungs, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to move oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Insufficient oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're subjected to dangerous 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 higher levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less serious symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members struggling with symptoms at the same time, it may be evidence that there's CO gas 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, call a trained technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should find where the gas is escaping.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and fix the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a bit of time to uncover the correct 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. Verify that your furnace is properly vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run around the clock, squandering energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside. Not only could 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, ensure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Long Beach. A broken or defective furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much quicker than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's vital to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping adequate time to evacuate safely. It's also a smart idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, especially large homes should look at extra CO detectors for uniform protection for the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the above recommendations, you'll want to install three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

  • One alarm could be installed around the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm should be put in around the kitchen.
  • While the third and fourth alarms could 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 resolving the leak when it’s been discovered. A great way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Long Beach to licensed professionals like YES R&M Inc.. They know how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.