Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuels such as oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can lead to all kinds of health and breathing issues. Luckily, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But when a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are loose, CO can leak into your house.

While high quality furnace repair in Mount Pleasant can fix carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to be familiar with the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll share more facts about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate steps to keep you and your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is created. It generally dissipates over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach elevated concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's viewed as a dangerous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels may increase without anyone noticing. That's why it's essential to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for discerning the presence of CO and alerting you with the alarm system.

What Produces 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 due to its prevalence and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

Like we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is usually removed safely outside of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems because they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it reaches 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 keeps oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capacity 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 harmful levels of CO over a long period of time, you might experience the following symptoms:

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

At even more potent levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less dangerous signs) are frequently mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it could be a sign that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you suspect you have CO poisoning, get out of the house straight away and contact 911. Medical experts can see to it that your symptoms are managed. Then, call a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can uncover where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a while to find the correct spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is adequately 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 whenever you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run constantly, wasting energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal indoors. Not only does 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 own a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Mount Pleasant. A damaged or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much quicker than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's important to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, as well as the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping sufficient time to get out. It's also a good idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, especially large homes should consider additional CO detectors for uniform protection for the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the aforementioned guidelines, you should have three to four carbon monoxide alarms.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than fixing the leak once it’s been located. A great way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Mount Pleasant to qualified specialists like Olde Towne Heating & Air. They understand how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.