Furnaces combust fuels such as oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can trigger all sorts of health and breathing complications. Fortunately, furnaces are built with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely out of your home. But in the event a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are cracked, CO can leak into your house.
While professional furnace repair in Los Angeles can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also essential to recognize the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll review more info about carbon monoxide so you can take steps to keep you and your family healthy.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a gas composed of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It usually disperses over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach elevated concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels can increase without anyone noticing. That's why it's important to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is capable of discerning the presence of CO and warning your family with the alarm system.
What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?
Carbon monoxide is created when any form of fuel is burned. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace because of its availability and inexpensive price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that use these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, including:
- Water heaters
- Wood stoves
- Hot tubs
- and more
As we mentioned before, the carbon monoxide a furnace generates is normally released safely outside of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation due to the fact that they possess proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it passes concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.
What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?
Once carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capability to carry oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. A shortage of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with dangerous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you might experience a number of symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
At even higher levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.
These symptoms (especially the less severe signs) are often 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 can be indicative that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and contact 911. Medical professionals can ensure your symptoms are controlled. Then, call a certified technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is escaping.
How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide
Once a technician has identified 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 find the exact spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can work on to limit CO levels in your home:
- Make sure your furnace is properly vented and that there are no clogs in the flue pipe or somewhere else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
- Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
- Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run night and day, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
- Don't burn charcoal inside your home. Not only could it make a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
- Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in confined spaces.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
- Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Los Angeles. A damaged or faulty furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide emissions.
- Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms notice CO gas much earlier than humans do.
How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?
It's important to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, as well as the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping enough time to get out. It's also a great idea to install carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should consider even more CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.
Let's say a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the aforementioned guidelines, you should have three to four carbon monoxide sensors.
- One alarm should be mounted around the furnace and/or water heater.
- The second alarm could be placed close to the kitchen.
- And the third and fourth alarms can be installed near or inside bedrooms.
Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide
Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than repairing the leak after it’s been located. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Los Angeles to certified specialists like AZ Air Conditioning and Heating. They understand how to install your preferred make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.