Furnaces burn fuels such as oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can cause all sorts of health and breathing complications. Luckily, furnaces are built with flue pipes that vent carbon monoxide safely away from your home. But if a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are cracked, CO can leak into the house.
While professional furnace repair in Fort Lauderdale can correct 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 in bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll review more information about carbon monoxide so you can take the appropriate 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 fuel like wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is released. It generally disperses over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach higher concentrations. In fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a dangerous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may increase without someone noticing. This is why it's important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is ideal for identifying evidence of CO and alerting you with the alarm system.
What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?
Carbon monoxide is produced when any form of fuel is ignited. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially common because of its prevalence and low price, making it a well-known source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that use these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, like:
- Water heaters
- Wood stoves
- Hot tubs
- and more
Like we mentioned above, the carbon monoxide your furnace creates is normally vented safely outside of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, most homes don't have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fact that they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.
What Can Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?
When carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This stops oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capacity to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Insufficient oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with hazardous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you could experience a variety of symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
At even steeper levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.
These symptoms (namely the less serious ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have different family members experiencing symptoms simultaneously, it may be indicative that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, get out of the house right away and call 911. Medical experts can ensure your symptoms are controlled. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can uncover where the gas is coming from.
How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide
After a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and fix the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a while to locate the right spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to limit CO levels in your home:
- See to it that your furnace is correctly vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or somewhere else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
- Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
- Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would need to run night and day, wasting energy and putting heavy strain on them.
- Do not burn charcoal indoors. Not only could it create a mess, but it can produce more 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, ensure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
- Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Fort Lauderdale. A broken down or malfunctioning furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
- Most importantly, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms recognize CO gas much sooner than humans do.
How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?
It's crucial to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, as well as the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping adequate time to evacuate safely. It's also a good idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or a water heater. Finally, especially large homes should consider additional CO detectors for consistent protection for the entire house.
Let's pretend a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the previously mentioned guidelines, you should have three to four carbon monoxide detectors.
- One alarm should be mounted near the furnace and/or water heater.
- The second alarm could be put in around the kitchen.
- And the third and fourth alarms can be installed near or inside bedrooms.
Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide
Preventing a carbon monoxide leak is always better than resolving the leak after it’s been discovered. One of the best ways to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Fort Lauderdale to qualified professionals like Solar Air Inc. . They know how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.