Furnaces combust fuels including oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can trigger all sorts of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely out of your house. But when a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are cracked, CO can get into your home.
While quality furnace repair in Huffman can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to know the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share 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 something like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It generally breaks up over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels may rise without somebody noticing. This is why it's crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is ideal for recognizing faint traces of CO and warning everyone in the house via the alarm system.
What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?
Carbon monoxide is produced when any kind of fuel is burnt. This includes natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace due to its prevalence and affordable price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, such as:
- Water heaters
- Wood stoves
- Hot tubs
- and more
Like we mentioned earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace produces is ordinarily vented safely away from your home through the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems since they possess proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.
What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?
When carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's capacity to carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Insufficient oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with harmful amounts of CO over a long period of time, you could experience a variety of symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
At even more potent levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.
These symptoms (particularly the less dangerous signs) are easily mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have several family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it might be evidence that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house immediately and call 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, contact a trained technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can determine where the gas is leaking.
How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide
After a technician has found carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal off the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to locate the right spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can manage to minimize CO levels in your home:
- Verify that your furnace is adequately vented and that there aren't any clogs in the flue pipe or someplace else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
- Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
- Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running night and day, squandering energy and placing heavy strain on them.
- Never burn charcoal inside. Not only could it leave a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
- Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to leave the house.
- Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Huffman. A broken down or defective furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
- Most importantly, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much faster than humans do.
How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?
It's crucial to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, as well as the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces farther 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 around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should look at even more CO detectors for consistent coverage of the entire house.
Let's pretend a home has three floors, including the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you'd want to put in three to four carbon monoxide alarms.
- One alarm should be set up around the furnace and/or water heater.
- The second alarm could be put in around the kitchen.
- Both the third and fourth alarms should be installed near or inside bedrooms.
Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide
Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always better than resolving the leak once it’s been found. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Huffman to certified professionals like Air Houston Mechanical LLC. They know how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.