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  1. #1

    Carbon Monoxide from Natural Gas?

    Hello,

    Forgive me if this is the wrong place to post this question, I'm just looking for a little guidance.

    A few months back (May or June I'd say) I bought a combination natural gas/carbon monoxide detector. At first the carbon monoxide peak level was zero, but then it jumped to 12 and has slowly risen until it now resides at 31. The current reading always says 0 whenever I take a glance at it, but the peak level is concerning me. I've reset it a couple of times to see if it was a faulty reading, but it goes back up within a few days.

    What really has me scratching my head is that we only have electrical appliances in the house. Nothing is running off gas except our heating, which does use natural gas. Even though the heat was not running the whole time the levels have been going up, I'm wondering if somehow that is the cause. If that's not it, what else should I be looking at?

    Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    Posts
    2,919
    I would have a tech measure the CO levels at the furnace. Also, you may want to get another CO detector for your house.

    CO is nothing to take lightly. You may just have a bad detector, or your furnace could be defective, which could make you sick or dead.

    Good luck
    Remember, Air Conditioning begins with AIR.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    971
    is the garage attached ?


    Expect nothing, yet expect the unexpected.
    Press on Regardless, Endeavor to Persevere.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin O'Neill View Post
    Also, you may want to get another CO detector for your house.
    An additional one, or one to replace what I have (a Kidde)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snoring Beagle View Post
    is the garage attached ?
    No garage.

    Thanks for your replies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    724

    Co

    Where is the CO detector located; upstairs first floor or basement?
    What type of hot water heater do you have? Is it next to the furnace?
    What type of clothes dryer do you have and where is it located?

    To test the unit you can put it outside for a day or two and check the reading.
    The quality of my performance, sometimes depends on the quality of my audience.
    Imitation (Plagiarism) is the best compliment one can get -- "Open A Window"

    To improve Indoor Air Quality: Control Indoor Air QUANTITY = "I.A.Q.Q."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Central Kentucky
    Posts
    6,248
    Would be a good idea to find someone in your area who has been trained to do CO/combustion diagnostics.

    Testing the air in the home is not enough to identify the source the furnace will need to have it's flue gas tested for best diagnostic results.
    The problem could be coming from a neighbors home depending on how close they are to you.

    That CO alarm isn't giving you the protection you think it is.
    It is allowed to be exposed up to 70 PPM of CO for four hours before it could alarm and that is no guarantee.

    The only CO monitors that offer any low level protection from CO are the NSI 3000 from NCI www.nationalcomfortinstitute.com and the CO Experts monitor www.coexperts.com

    Be sure to get this situation remedied as quickly as you can.
    Have you set up a Google alert for Carbon Monoxide yet?
    Click here to find out how.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Xavier View Post
    Where is the CO detector located; upstairs first floor or basement?
    It's a one level house. I've located it in the living room at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xavier View Post
    What type of hot water heater do you have? Is it next to the furnace?
    What type of clothes dryer do you have and where is it located?
    Probably not what you're asking, but the water heater is an Envi-ro-temp and the dryer is a GE. They are both located in a laundry room on the opposite end of the house from the furnace. Is it possible for either of these to cause a CO problem if they are running off of electricity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xavier View Post
    To test the unit you can put it outside for a day or two and check the reading.
    What should I be looking for here? A zero reading?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    232
    Quote Originally Posted by lotr13 View Post
    A few months back (May or June I'd say) I bought a combination natural gas/carbon monoxide detector. At first the carbon monoxide peak level was zero, but then it jumped to 12 and has slowly risen until it now resides at 31. The current reading always says 0 whenever I take a glance at it, but the peak level is concerning me. I've reset it a couple of times to see if it was a faulty reading, but it goes back up within a few days.
    Hi matt,

    31 ppm is too high! I would recommend investing in a low level carbon monoxide detector. This way it will actually sound an alarm at these unsafe levels of CO. But even more importantly find someone in your area who is qualified to find the source of the CO and eliminate it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    USA, Midwest
    Posts
    35

    CO from natural gas? Not unless you're cooking!

    Lotr13

    Forgive me for jumping in, but there could be a number of reasons your CO detector is peaking at 31ppm.

    Most likely it's chocolate chip cookies or a cake or corn bread if you have a gas oven. Or, it could be hair spray, alcohol, PAM cooking spray; any number of other aerosols may affect your detector.

    If you have a standard residential gas oven, it could emit anywhere from 10 to 800 ppm and still be considered safe by ANSI manufacturing standards. That CO level is NOT safe for prolonged exposure, but you would be surprised how much CO comes from a regular oven. Stove top burners also produce CO if the flame tips hit the cold metal of a frying pan or pot.

    If you don't have a gas oven, or haven't used the oven or stove top burners, then the possibility of a periodic backdraft down your water heater draft diverter is the next place I'd look. There's always a chance of backdraft if you run your clothes dryer (gas or electric) with all the windows closed in a tight, energy efficient home. Eventually, the air that should have gone up the flue gets re-burned by the water heater and then pulled back down the draft diverter. That will cause CO.

    By the way, a natural gas flame with clear blue tips doesn't emit measureable CO, unless there's already CO in the gas supply (which is done by some of the natural gas suppliers.)

    Let us know what you discover.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,677
    From what I gather from your post ALL appliances except for the furnace are electric not gas, no attatched garage, so that means the source for the CO has to be the furnace (unless you smoke in the home, or burn lots of candles) Either way tomorrow morning call a service tech out to do a annual cleaning/tune up on your furnace, it can save your life and those you love.
    You can't fix stupid

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    54

    Carbon Monoxcide Detectors

    Not all Carbon Monoxide Detectors are created equal. I have a TP7 with digital wireless Printout. For $565.00, and a Factory calibration required yearly. I trust it when it says 0 PPM (most of the time in PM checks ive performed in the last 6 months) and I trust it the same when it says 400PPM (once in 6 months - The exchanger had a dime size hole in the top rung of the 4 tube exchanger)...Peak or Avg - It better work!

    12000 PPM will kill you in 1-3 minutes - even if you are awake! Scary huh?

    Do yourself a favor and have peace of mind - Get a second opinion. Even if the 1st opinion came from your own CO tester...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    USA, Midwest
    Posts
    35
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidInAustin View Post
    Not all Carbon Monoxide Detectors are created equal. I have a TP7 with digital wireless Printout. For $565.00, and a Factory calibration required yearly. I trust it when it says 0 PPM (most of the time in PM checks ive performed in the last 6 months) and I trust it the same when it says 400PPM (once in 6 months - The exchanger had a dime size hole in the top rung of the 4 tube exchanger)...Peak or Avg - It better work!

    12000 PPM will kill you in 1-3 minutes - even if you are awake! Scary huh?

    Do yourself a favor and have peace of mind - Get a second opinion. Even if the 1st opinion came from your own CO tester...
    DavidInAustin,

    I'm not clear on where the carbon monoxide you're reading is coming from.

    If there's a dime-size hole in a tube style heat exchanger, how does that produce CO? Or, maybe a better question, if the burner is producing CO, how does it get out of the heat exchanger?

    Wouldn't the draft-inducer "suck" air into a hole in a tube style heat exchanger?

    Gus

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    54

    Co

    Excellent question my friend Gus - Venturi effect... (The blower motor is far stronger/powerful air displacing/moving effect than the inducer motor). Venturi effect will pull some CO from the tube ( more or less effected by location of hole in respect to cross airflow) as the air from the blower passes by the exchanger at 1000 - 2000 CFM - if it has a leak.

    If your not familar with "Venturi" - Picture a glass of water with a straw in the glass. If you stick the straw near your lips and blow hard across the straw tip - the water will lift from the glass through the straw and move upwards. If enough cross air is produced - the water will come out of the top of the straw.

    In earlyer times - One would remove the burner assy - wet the hand - stick your hand in each exchanger as the blower was running - If your hand felt cooler in one exchanger compared to the ajoining exchanger - bingo...theres a leak (Note: A very small leak can be detected this way, even today!!) - also Venturi effect!

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