Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a tasteless, colorless, odorless gas produced by burning fuel.  Therefore, any fuel-burning appliance in your home is a potential CO source. When appliances are kept in good working condition, they produce little CO. Improperly operating appliances can produce fatal CO concentrations. Likewise, using charcoal indoors or running a car in a closed garage can cause CO poisoning.

Symptoms Of CO Poisoning

CO can kill you.The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without fever). They include: dizziness, nausea, fatigue, irregular breathing and headache. If you have any of these symptoms, and if you feel better when you go outside your home and symptoms reappear once you’re back inside, you may have CO poisoning.

What Precautions Can You Take?

  • Make sure appliances are installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals.
  • Have your heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually.
  • Follow manufacture’s directions for safe operation.
  • Examine vents and chimneys regularly for improper connections, visible rust or stains.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector for added safety.
  • Look for problems that could indicate improper appliance operation, such as:
    • Decreasing hot water supply.
    • Inability of furnace to heat house or runs constantly.
    • Sooting, especially on appliances.
    • Unfamiliar or burning odor.