Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuel like oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in all sorts of health and breathing issues. Thankfully, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely away from the house. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are loose, CO could leak into your house.

While high quality furnace repair in Omaha can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to learn the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll offer up more info about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family healthy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is created. It usually disperses over time since CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach elevated concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's regarded as a dangerous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels could increase without anybody noticing. That's why it's crucial to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for discerning faint traces of CO and alerting your family via the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any form of fuel is ignited. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly popular due to its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

Like we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is normally removed safely out of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, most homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning since they offer proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capability to transport oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. Insufficient oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with hazardous 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 steeper levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less dangerous symptoms) are frequently mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have several family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it can be a sign that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you think you are struggling with CO poisoning, get out of the house immediately and contact 911. Medical providers can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, contact a professional technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will uncover where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. Verify that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or anywhere else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run night and day, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal indoors. Not only does it make a mess, but it will also emit 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 allow carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Omaha. A broken or malfunctioning furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much earlier than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's crucial to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, including the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping adequate time to get out. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or your water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should consider extra CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the previously mentioned suggestions, you'll want to install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than resolving the leak when it’s been found. A great way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in Omaha to qualified experts like The Frazier Company. They understand how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.