Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuel like oil and natural gas to create 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 kinds of health and breathing complications. Fortunately, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely away from your home. But when a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are damaged, CO might leak into your house.

While quality furnace repair in Albuquerque 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 inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll review more facts 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 a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is created. It generally disperses over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide will sometimes reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels could rise without somebody noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for discerning faint traces of CO and warning you with the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any type of fuel is ignited. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace as a result of its prevalence and low price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide the furnace generates is normally vented safely outside of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, most homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they have proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it passes concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's capability to carry oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Lack of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're exposed to harmful quantities 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 serious. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less severe ones) are often mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members struggling with symptoms at the same time, it can be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, get out of the house right away and contact 911. Medical providers can make sure your symptoms are managed. Then, call a certified technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is leaking.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. Make sure your furnace is correctly vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere else that could 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 increase ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside your home. Not only will it make 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 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. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Albuquerque. A broken or faulty furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms detect CO gas much earlier than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's vital to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to evacuate safely. It's also a smart idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or your water heater. And 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 suggestions, you should put in three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than resolving the leak when it’s been discovered. A great way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Albuquerque to qualified specialists like I-Deal HVAC. They recognize how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.