Carbon Monoxide

They call it the invisible killer. It’s a deadly poison you can’t see, smell or taste. And more people are buying special devices to detect its presence. You guessed it—we’re talking about carbon monoxide. And it’s more dangerous than you probably realize.

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion by means of burning fuel. Among other common household appliances, carbon monoxide is produced by gas furnaces, gas clothes dryers, gas water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, cars, and most other gasoline-powered combustion engines.

Here’s the good news: If your home appliances are vented correctly and are properly installed and maintained with no air pressure fluctuations or airway blockages, carbon monoxide will most likely be vented to the outside. However, you already know this gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless. So how will you know if it’s there? Stick to this advice:

Carbon monoxide may be entering your home if you have unexplained flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mental confusion 

If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, immediately take these steps:

  • Turn off and stop using the suspected appliance.
  • Leave the house and walk to a neighbor’s.
  • Go to the hospital or call 911 if anyone in your home experiences the symptoms above.
  • Contact CoServ Gas at (844) 330-0763. We answer emergency calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Don’t use the suspected gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by a licensed contractor.

Keep your home free from carbon monoxide by remembering to:

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms. They offer an extra level of safety if routinely maintained and replaced every three to five years. Even with alarms in place, however, gas appliances should be inspected and maintained regularly.
  • Replace carbon monoxide alarm batteries every year. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke detector batteries annually. Please remember to replace your carbon monoxide alarm batteries at the same time. Perform these functions when Daylight Saving Time commences in the fall each year on the first Sunday in November. 
  • Turn off your automobile immediately after entering your garage. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 140 people die each year from unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide associated with consumer products (such as your car).
  • Schedule a qualified professional to annually inspect your home heating equipment and natural gas equipment.
  • Never heat your home with your oven, range or outdoor barbecue.
  • Avoid lint build-up in your furnace floor, and clean inside the burner compartment of built-in vented wall furnaces once a month.
  • Never place rugs, furniture or other items over the furnace grill. This may block the airflow. Also, don’t store items nearby that might stop airflow.
  • Each month, check the filters in central forced-air furnaces for lint build-up, and clean or replace if necessary.
  • Never operate a central forced-air furnace without ensuring that the front panel door fits snugly.
  • Don’t use unvented gas heaters in any room.

After you implement these tips, get educated about natural gas safety.

Source: American Gas Association