Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces ignite fuel like oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can lead to all kinds of health and breathing complications. Luckily, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of your house. But if a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are cracked, CO might get into your house.

While professional furnace repair in Phoenix can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll offer up more facts about carbon monoxide so you can take 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 a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is produced. It normally dissipates over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach more potent concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels can climb without anyone noticing. That's why it's vital to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is ideal for discerning the presence of CO and notifying everyone in the house via the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any kind of fuel is ignited. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace as a result of its wide availability and low price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, such as:

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

As we outlined above, the carbon monoxide your furnace generates is usually removed safely outside of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, most homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning since they have sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When 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 through the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. A shortage of oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're subjected to dangerous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you could 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 detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less serious ones) are easily mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it may be evidence that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you believe you are struggling with CO poisoning, exit the house immediately and contact 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, contact a certified technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is leaking.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. Verify that your furnace is properly vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or somewhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that produce carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run around the clock, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal indoors. Not only could it create a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use 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 enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Phoenix. A broken or faulty furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much sooner than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's important to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, as well as the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping plenty of time to exit the home. It's also a smart idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should consider extra CO detectors for uniform protection for the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, including the basement. With the above guidelines, you'd want to set up three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

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

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than repairing the leak when it’s been discovered. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Phoenix to licensed professionals like Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. They recognize how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.