Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels including oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can trigger all sorts of health and breathing issues. Luckily, furnaces are built with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of your house. But if a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are cracked, CO can leak into your home.

While professional furnace repair in Naples can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also important to know the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more information about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan 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 something like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It usually scatters over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach more potent concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a harmful gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without someone noticing. That's why it's essential to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is capable of identifying the presence of CO and notifying everyone in the house via the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is combusted. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace because of its availability and inexpensive price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that use these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

Like we stated before, the carbon monoxide a furnace produces is ordinarily vented safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems since they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's ability to carry oxygen in 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 affects every part of the body. If you're exposed to hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you may experience a variety of symptoms:

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

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

These symptoms (namely the less severe signs) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members suffering from symptoms concurrently, it can be indicative that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, get out of the house immediately and call 911. Medical professionals can ensure your symptoms are managed. Then, call a trained technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can determine where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal off the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a bit of time to uncover the right 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 work on to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is properly vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or someplace else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that produce carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running night and day, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside. Not only will 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 own a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Naples. A broken down or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms detect CO gas much earlier than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's important to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping plenty of time to get out. It's also a smart idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should consider extra CO detectors for consistent coverage of the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, including the basement. With the above guidelines, you should set up three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

  • One alarm could be mounted close to the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm can be placed near the kitchen.
  • And the third and fourth alarms should be installed near or inside bedrooms.

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always better than fixing the leak once it’s been found. One of the best ways to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Naples to qualified specialists like CNR Air Conditioning Inc. They understand how to install your desired make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.