Carbon Monoxide Safety

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide or (CO) is a deadly, odorless, colorless and poisonous gas. On average, there are about 170 people in the United States that die every year from Carbon Monoxide produced by non-automotive consumer products. Non-automotive products include malfunctioning fuel burning appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, ranges, portable generators, and fireplaces. Carbon Monoxide is produced when fuels are burned incompletely.

Ways to prevent Carbon Monoxide:

  • Never operate a vehicle, portable generator or any gasoline burning engine-powered tools (ie. Snow plow, lawn mower, chain saw) in an enclosed space, such as a house or a garage.
    Note: Even with open windows and/or doors, these places could still trap Carbon Monoxide and build up to toxic levels.
  • Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers to heat your home.
  • Do not put aluminum foil on the bottom.
  • of natural gas or propane ovens. Doing that blocks the combustion air flow through the appliance and can produce Carbon Monoxide.
  • Always open the chimney’s flue damper when you use the fireplace.
  • Have your heating system professionally inspected and serviced annually to ensure proper operation.
  • Make sure to keep chimneys, flues, and vents free of debris suck as leaves, animal nests, snow and ice.
  • Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skill and tools. Always refer to the owner’s manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning equipment.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning:

Low-Moderate CO poisoning

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

High CO poisoning.

  • Vomiting
  • Mental confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Mental confusion
  • Ultimately death

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

CO alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. It is recommended that one CO alarm be installed in the hallway outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of the home. CO alarms may be installed into a plug-in receptacle or high on the wall. Hard wired or plug-in CO alarms should have battery backup. Avoid locations that are near heating vents or that can be covered by furniture or draperies. Installing CO alarms in kitchens or above fuel-burning appliances is not recommended.