Carbon Monoxide Safety
Carbon Monoxide: an invisible danger…
You can’t SEE IT, SMELL IT, or TASTE IT!
Carbon monoxide can be deadly! High levels of carbon monoxide can make you dizzy, give you headaches, or cause flu-like symptoms. In extreme cases, high levels of or extended exposure to carbon monoxide can result in brain damage or death. Young children, the elderly, people with heart disease, and those under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication are particularly susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning.
High levels of carbon monoxide can be generated by internal combustion engines or appliances that are defective or improperly installed or maintained. Carbon monoxide can also enter a home if an appliance venting system or chimney becomes blocked (for example, by a bird’s nest).
Signs of improper appliance operation that can generate high carbon monoxide levels:
- Sooting, especially on appliances and vents;
- Unfamiliar or burning odor;
- Increased moisture inside of windows;
- Yellow flames
If you suspect carbon monoxide is present, act immediately!
You cannot taste or smell carbon monoxide, but it is a very dangerous gas produced when any fuel burns.
- High levels of carbon monoxide can make you dizzy or sick. In extreme cases, it can cause brain damage or death. If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or your local fire department.
- If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing carbon monoxide.
- If no one has physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, but you suspect that carbon monoxide is present, call your propane supplier or a qualified professional to check carbon monoxide levels and your propane equipment.
Reduce the Risk
The best way to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a qualified professional check your appliances and venting systems annually, preferably before the heating season begins.
Other Important Measures Include:
- KEEP chimneys, flues, and vents free of debris such as leaves and animal nests.
- KEEP chimneys, flues, and vents free of snow and ice.
- NEVER use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
- NEVER use portable heaters indoors, unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.
- NEVER use a barbecue grill (propane or charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
- REGULARLY CHECK your appliance exhaust vents for blockage.
- ALWAYS open the chimney flue damper when you use your fireplace.
- ALWAYS follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and use of vent-free appliances, including fireplaces and logs.
- NEVER run an internal combustion engine such as your car, lawn mower, generator, or snow blower in enclosed areas, such as your garage.
Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to sound an alarm when they sense excessive levels of carbon monoxide in the air. For an extra measure of safety, it is recommended that you consider installing a UL-listed carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding use.