Furnaces combust fuels such as oil and natural gas to create 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 a lot of health and breathing complications. Thankfully, furnaces are built with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely out of your house. But if a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are loose, CO can leak into the house.
While high quality furnace repair in Paso Robles can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to know the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by 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 a flammable fuel like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is created. It normally scatters over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach more potent concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can increase without somebody noticing. That's why it's vital to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is capable of recognizing evidence of CO and warning you using the alarm system.
What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?
Carbon monoxide is created when any type of fuel is burnt. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly common as a result of 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 use these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, like:
- Water heaters
- Wood stoves
- Hot tubs
- and more
Like we stated above, the carbon monoxide the furnace generates is ordinarily removed safely away from your home via the flue pipe. In fact, most homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they possess proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.
What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?
After carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's ability to transport oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. A shortage of oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're in contact with hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a number of symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
At even higher levels, the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.
These symptoms (namely the less serious symptoms) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it might be evidence that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and call 911. Medical professionals can see to it that your symptoms are controlled. Then, call a professional technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is coming from.
How to Remove Carbon Monoxide
Once a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and seal the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take some time to find the right spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to minimize CO levels in your home:
- See to it that your furnace is properly vented and that there aren't any clogs in the flue pipe or anywhere else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
- Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
- Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, wasting energy and putting heavy strain on them.
- Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it leave a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
- Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in confined spaces.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
- Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Paso Robles. A broken or defective furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide problems.
- Most important, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms notice CO gas much quicker than humans will.
How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?
It's vital 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 get out. It's also a smart idea to install carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, very large homes should think about installing extra CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.
Let's say a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the aforementioned suggestions, you'll want to set up three to four carbon monoxide alarms.
- One alarm could be set up near the furnace and/or water heater.
- The second alarm should be put in close to the kitchen.
- While the third and fourth alarms can be installed near or in bedrooms.
Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide
Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than repairing the leak once it’s been discovered. One of the best ways to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Paso Robles to qualified professionals like Paso Robles Heating and Air. They know how to install your desired make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.