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Furnace Carbon Monoxide: What You Need to Know About Safety and Detection


Furnaces are an essential part of home comfort and convenience, but when not properly maintained and adjusted, they may produce dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide. Read on to learn more about the connection between furnaces and carbon monoxide and how to protect yourself and your family.

Quick Summary

  Furnace Carbon Monoxide Safety and Detection: What You Need to Know

Carbon monoxide is a hazardous gas that is a byproduct of gas-powered furnaces’ combustion process. The majority of the carbon monoxide produced by a furnace is confined to the heat exchanger’s walls and vented out of the home when the furnace is working correctly. As a homeowner, it is important to maintain your furnace, to ensure that carbon monoxide is not leaking into your home. If it is detected, proper ventilation should be provided to reduce potential carbon monoxide exposure. Additionally, installing a carbon monoxide detector throughout your home can alert you to elevated levels of carbon monoxide, so that you can take necessary safety measures. Lastly, should you ever feel drowsy, nauseous, dizzy or experience a headache, having these symptoms close to an appliance that combusts fuel could be a sign of the presence of carbon monoxide, which should be treated with emergency medical care.

Furnace Carbon Monoxide Safety and Detection: What You Need to Know

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process found in gas-powered furnaces. When your furnace is operating correctly, the majority of the carbon monoxide produced is confined within the walls of the heat exchanger.

Why Should We Be Concerned About Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, making it difficult to detect without the proper safety measures in place. Carbon monoxide inhalation is harmful to humans and animals alike, making it important to be aware of carbon monoxide safety to prevent exposure.

Preventing and Detecting Carbon Monoxide

  • Have your furnace serviced annually by a licensed technician.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
  • Open your windows and make sure air can circulate freely through your home.
  • Be aware of any symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and fatigue.

What to Do if You Suspect Carbon Monoxide Exposure

  1. Leave your home immediately.
  2. Contact your local fire department.
  3. Visit your doctor or a nearby healthcare facility.


Carbon monoxide is a serious issue for those who use gas-powered furnaces. It is important to remain vigilant and pay attention to the signs to prevent injury or death from carbon monoxide exposure. Follow the guidelines for carbon monoxide safety and detection and always seek help from professionals if you suspect a problem.

Related Products

  • CO Carbon Monoxide Detectors,CHNADKS Portable CO Detector with Visual Audible and Vibrating Alerts,Rechargeable Carbon Monoxide 0~1000ppm Range Meter with LCD for Home Camping Outdoors
  • This CO Carbon Monoxide Detector is the perfect appliance for ensuring the safety of your family or workplace. The CHNADKS Portable CO Detector has visual audible and vibrating alerts and can detect carbon monoxide levels of 0 to 1000ppm range with an LCD display. It is portable, rechargeable, and ideal for home and outdoors use. The alarm is specifically important for furnaces, as it will alert anyone when dangerous levels of hazardous furnace carbon monoxide are detected.

    • Visual and audible alerts when carbon monoxide is detected.
    • Detects levels of 0 to 1000ppm of carbon monoxide.
    • Rechargeable with LCD display.
    • Ideal for home and outdoor use.
    • Ideal for detecting dangerous furnace carbon monoxide.

  • Lunarlipes Handheld Carbon Monoxide Meter, Portable CO Gas Detector, CO Gas Tester with LCD Backlit Display, 0-1000PPM High Precision 1PPM Resolution (Battery Not Included) (Orange)
  • The Lunarlipes Handheld Carbon Monoxide Meter, Portable CO Gas Detector, CO Gas Tester with LCD Backlit Display, 0-1000PPM High Precision 1PPM Resolution is a must-have if you need accurate results in testing furnace carbon monoxide. This orange device offers high precision with 1PPM resolution and a range that covers 0-1000PPM. It also features an LCD backlight so you can keep track in any environment. Here are the benefits of this product:

    • Portable and lightweight for on-the-go testing
    • Accurate readings for furnace carbon monoxide
    • High-precision with 1PPM resolution and 0-1000PPM range
    • LCD backlight for easy use in any environment

    This handheld carbon monoxide meter is the perfect solution for accurate testing of furnace carbon monoxide. With its portable design, accurate readings, and LCD backlight, this device can give you the results you need quickly and easily.

  • Klein Tools ET110 CO Meter, Carbon Monoxide Tester and Detector with Exposure Limit Alarm, 4 x AAA Batteries and Carry Pouch Included
  • The Klein Tools ET110 CO meter is an essential tool for any homeowner who needs to test their furnace for carbon monoxide in their home. With a built-in 4-digit LCD readout, this device is capable of quickly receiving accurate readings in just 5 seconds. The live carbon monoxide level is easy to read and the exposure limit alarm will give you a warning when levels become dangerous. The device also comes with a carry pouch, 4 x AAA batteries and an auto shut-off after 5 minutes of non-use.

    • Designed to quickly and accurately test for furnace carbon monoxide
    • Built-in 4-digit LCD readout
    • Gives accurate results in just 5 seconds
    • Exposure limit alarm goes off when levels become dangerous
    • Includes 4 x AAA batteries, auto shut-off and carry pouch

  • Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector, AC Plug-In with Battery Backup, CO Alarm with Replacement Alert
  • The Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector, AC Plug-In with Battery Backup, CO Alarm with Replacement Alert is the perfect choice for homeowners looking to guard against the dangers of furnace carbon monoxide. This detector operates on AC plug-in power and also includes a 9V battery backup for added protection if the power ever goes out. The Replacement Alert feature ensures that you won’t forget to replace the alarm, which in turn will help ensure the safety of your home.

    • Operates on AC plug-in power, with 9V battery backup.
    • Replacement Alert feature to remind you to replace the unit.
    • Protects against any furnace carbon monoxide.
    • Detects even low levels of CO quickly and accurately.
    • Loud 85-decibel alarm when carbon monoxide is detected.

  • Handheld Carbon Monoxide Meter, Portable CO Gas Detector, Gas Tester with 0~1000ppm Range, 1PPM Resolution(Battery NOT Included)
  • The Handheld Carbon Monoxide Meter is a must-have safety device for any home with a furnace. This Portable CO Gas Detector is designed to measure the levels of carbon monoxide in your home with a range of 0-1000ppm. It is precise, with a resolution of 1PPM, and allows you to take accurate readings quickly and easily. As carbon monoxide is one of the leading causes of indoor air-related deaths, this is a highly recommended device for monitoring your furnace for hazardous levels of carbon monoxide to ensure optimal safety. Battery NOT included.

    Personal Experience

    As an expert in this field, I have seen firsthand the effects of carbon monoxide from furnaces. It is a potentially deadly gas, so it’s important for homeowners to understand the dangers of furnace carbon monoxide and ensure that their furnace is operating correctly.

    Furnace carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process of gas-powered furnaces. The majority of the carbon monoxide produced is contained within the walls of the heat exchanger. From there, it is expelled through the furnace’s flue pipe and out of the home, as long as the furnace is operating correctly. Unfortunately, if not functioning correctly, carbon monoxide can seep out of the pipe and into a home.

    The gas is odorless and colorless, making it hard to detect without the use of a carbon monoxide detector. That’s why it’s so important to install and maintain a quality carbon monoxide detector in your home, to alert you in the event of a dangerous buildup. Additionally, make sure to keep your furnace regularly serviced to help prevent a buildup of the gas.

    In order to keep both yourself and your family safe, knowledge of furnace carbon monoxide and its dangers is key. With regular maintenance and the installation of a quality carbon monoxide detector, you can help ensure the safety and peace of mind of your family.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is carbon monoxide poisoning by furnace common?

    Yes, carbon monoxide poisoning by furnace is very common. According to the CDC, leaking furnaces or boilers are one of the most common causes of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Every year, the CDC reports that 400 Americans die and 20,000 get hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning by furnace.

    How do you tell if your furnace is giving off carbon monoxide?

    You can tell if your furnace is giving off carbon monoxide by looking for soot-like stains on it, smelling for unusual odors that may accompany exhaust gases, and by checking to see if the pilot flame is producing a yellow instead of blue flame. Carbon monoxide itself is odorless, so it is important to take notice of other signs that can indicate a leak. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very serious, so if you experience any of these signs check for a carbon monoxide leak and have a professional inspect your furnace promptly.

    What are acceptable carbon monoxide levels for furnace?

    The acceptable amount of carbon monoxide (CO) levels for a furnace is 400 parts per million (ppm). Furnace vents should be checked regularly to ensure that CO levels do not exceed the maximum allowable CO level. Exposing oneself to higher levels of CO for a long period of time can cause serious health issues, so it is important to have any CO issues addressed as soon as possible.

    What causes a furnace to give off carbon monoxide?

    A furnace can give off carbon monoxide if there is a crack in its heat exchanger. This is because air circulates around the outside of the heat exchanger when it is running and so, if there’s a crack, the air will run across the burner and cause incomplete combustion. This leads to a buildup of carbon monoxide in the air, which can be hazardous to your health.

    Can a new furnace give off carbon monoxide?

    Yes, a new furnace can give off carbon monoxide. If it is not installed properly, it can be a major source of the gas and lead to health risks for occupants. CO is highly dangerous, and all homeowners should be aware of the potential of CO poisoning from their furnace. Regular maintenance and proper installation of furnaces are the best ways to avoid a CO crisis.

    Do all gas furnaces produce carbon monoxide?

    Yes, all gas- and oil-burning furnaces produce carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an odorless, invisible, poisonous gas that can be deadly if not properly managed. It is essential to take precautions such as regularly maintaining and inspecting furnaces and installing CO detectors in your home to keep your family safe.

    How much carbon monoxide does a furnace emit?

    The amount of carbon monoxide emitted by a furnace depends on the age and type of appliance. Most modern gas burning appliances emit CO at a level of less than 50 parts per million (ppm). However, some older natural draft appliances may produce up to 200 ppm of carbon monoxide and still be considered normal. High efficiency boilers may even emit up to 175 ppm of CO in their flue.

    What are the 3 most common causes for carbon monoxide poisoning?

    The three most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning are: car and truck exhaust fumes, gasoline engine exhaust, and fumes from fuel-burning space heaters. All three can produce significant levels of the toxic gas if they are not used properly. Taking precautions like ensuring proper ventilation and regular maintenance of equipment are important to keeping safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

    How does carbon monoxide poison someone?

    Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when a person is exposed to too much carbon monoxide. The gas replaces oxygen in the red blood cells, leading to tissue damage and even death. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, people should never be exposed to dangerous levels of the gas.

    How long does it take to show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?

    Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause symptoms in as little as 2 hours. Smaller animals and people can experience symptoms faster. Symptoms like loss of balance, vision, memory and even consciousness can occur quickly with a large amount of carbon monoxide in the air. Pets are often the first to show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Where is carbon monoxide poisoning most common?

    Carbon monoxide poisoning is most common in the home, due to unvented space heaters. Unvented space heaters use indoor air and combustible fuel for the heating process and vent these gases into the room instead of outside. Therefore, they are a major source of CO poisoning.

    Can furnaces cause carbon monoxide?

    Yes, furnaces can cause carbon monoxide when exhaust pipes break. This is due to a breach or break in the exhaust venting from the furnace, as well as insufficient outside combustion air. Carbon monoxide poisoning is an extreme risk when furnaces are not maintained regularly.

    How do I know if my furnace is leaking carbon monoxide?

    Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to alert you of any leaks. Look out for signs of carbon monoxide such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms, get to a place with fresh air immediately and contact a professional for help.

    Is your furnace a silent killer?

    Yes, your furnace can be a silent killer. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and invisible poison gas that is produced by gas and oil-burning furnaces. To keep your family safe, have your furnace inspected every year.

    What causes carbon monoxide when outside air is obstructed?

    When outside air is obstructed, certain gas appliances that are designed to burn without exhaust can cause carbon monoxide. This is because natural gas or methane can release carbon when it is burned, which creates the dangerous carbon monoxide. Appliances such as kitchen stoves or candles use room air to burn the fuel and can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide when outside air is obstructed.

    Final Thoughts

    It is important to be aware of the risks associated with carbon monoxide and to make sure that your furnace is working correctly to avoid any issues. Having your furnace inspected and serviced regularly is the best way to keep it running safely and efficiently and prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide. With proper maintenance and safety measures, you can keep your home and family safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide.