Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuel like oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can trigger all sorts of health and breathing complications. Thankfully, furnaces are built with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely out of your home. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are damaged, CO might get into your house.

While quality furnace repair in Manassas can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to learn the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll review more info 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 comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It usually disperses over time because CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach more potent concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's regarded as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels could increase without anybody noticing. This is the reason why it's essential to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's capable of discerning the presence of CO and alerting you via the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any kind of fuel is ignited. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially popular due to its availability and inexpensive price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, most 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

As we outlined earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace generates is ordinarily released safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation due to the fact that they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's ability to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. Insufficient oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're exposed to hazardous levels of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a number of symptoms:

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

At even higher levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less dangerous symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members experiencing symptoms concurrently, it could be a sign that there's CO gas in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and contact 911. Medical experts can ensure your symptoms are managed. Then, get in touch with a trained technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should determine where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll determine the source and seal off the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a bit of time to locate the right spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal inside your home. Not only does it make a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Manassas. A damaged or faulty furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much earlier than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's vital to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping adequate time to evacuate safely. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should look at extra CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the previously mentioned guidelines, you'd want to install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than resolving the leak when it’s been discovered. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Manassas to licensed experts like Woody's Sudden Service Inc. They know how to install your preferred make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.