Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide [CO] is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, poisonous gas. It can be produced when combustion of any fuel — heating oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, kerosene, natural gas, coal or wood — takes place without sufficient oxygen. CO can make you ill or even kill you.

CO can accumulate unnoticed. Here are some common sources: gasoline engines running indoors, fuel-burning space heating or water heating equipment that is inadequately vented, and blocked chimneys or vent pipes. The only sure way to tell if CO is present is with a UL-listed CO detector like the one pictured above.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

CO poisoning is 100% avoidable through proper appliance installation, maintenance and use. Here are some tips:

» Have your heating system and any fuel-burning appliances and equipment inspected by a qualified professional every year, preferably before the start of each heating season.

» Periodically check vents, flue pipes and chimneys yourself for corrosion or blockages.

» Never run your vehicle or fuel-burning equipment in an enclosed space. Don't use barbecue grills indoors, and don't use your range or oven as a space heater.

» Buy UL-listed CO detectors and follow the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning vary, depending on the amount of CO in the bloodstream. The higher the concentration, the greater the danger.

» Mild exposure: Slight headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, flu-like symptoms

» Medium exposure: Severe headache, drowsiness, confusion, rapid heart rate

» Severe exposure: Unconciousness, convulsions, cardio/respiratory failure, death

Other safety information

How To Recognize A Natural Gas Leak
If You Smell Natural Gas
Educate your family
Carbon Monoxide
Meter Reader Safety
» Cleaning Gas Equipment
» Your Gas Fireplace
» Gas Heating Equipment
» Your Gas Water Heater
» Your Gas Range
» How Natural Gas Gets to You

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