Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuels including oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a complication of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can trigger a lot of health and breathing issues. Luckily, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But if a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are loose, CO might leak into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Long Island can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to know the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll offer up 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 consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is created. It usually breaks up over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a dangerous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels could increase without someone noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is perfect for recognizing the presence of CO and warning 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 includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace due to its prevalence and inexpensive price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that require these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

As we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide the furnace emits is normally removed safely out of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they possess proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it passes concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capacity to transport oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Insufficient oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're in contact with dangerous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you could experience a number of symptoms:

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

At even more potent levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less dangerous symptoms) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it might be evidence that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house right away and call 911. Medical providers can see to it that your symptoms are treated. Then, contact a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can determine where the gas is coming from.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and seal off the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take some time to uncover the correct spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to minimize 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 someplace else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that create 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 adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside your home. Not only does it create a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use 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 permit carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Long Island. A damaged or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most importantly, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms detect CO gas much earlier than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's important to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, as well as the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping enough time to exit the home. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or your water heater. Finally, especially large homes should consider additional CO detectors for equal protection for the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the aforementioned guidelines, you'll want to set up three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than resolving the leak after it’s been discovered. A great way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Long Island to certified experts like Airmax Long Island Inc. They know how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.