Carbon Monoxide

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is produced by burning any 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 in your home. Likewise, using charcoal indoors or running a car in a garage can cause CO poisoning.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you.

The initial symptoms of CO are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Irregular breathing

Remember, if you have any of these symptoms and if you feel better when you go outside your home and the symptoms reappear once you're back inside, you may have CO poisoning.

Clues You Can See...

  • Rusting or water streaking on vent/chimney
  • Loose or missing furnace panel
  • Sooting
  • Loose or disconnected vent/chimney connections
  • Debris or soot falling from chimney, fireplace, or appliance
  • Loose masonry on chimney
  • Moisture inside of windows

SOURCES OF AND CLUES TO A POSSIBLE CARBON MONOXIDE PROBLEM
  1. Room Heater 
  2. Furnace  
  3. Charcoal Grill
  4. Range
  5. Water Heater
  6. Auto in closed garage
  7. Fireplace
Sources of a CO Problem

Clues You Cannot See...

  • Internal appliance damage or malfunctioning components
  • Improper burner adjustment
  • Hidden blockage or damage in chimney

ONLY
A Trained Service Technician can detect hidden problems
and correct these conditions!

What Can You Do?

  • Make sure appliances are installed according to manufacturer's instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals.
  • Have the heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually.
  • Follow manufacturer's directions for safe operation.
  • Examine vents and chimney regularly for improper connections, visible rust or stains.
  • Notice problems that could indicate improper appliance operation:
    - Decreasing hot water supply
    - Furnace unable to heat house or runs constantly
    - Sooting, especially on appliances
    - Unfamiliar or burning odor

Install a CO Detector
for Added Safety

Must meet the requirements of UL 2034

What You Should Not Do...

  • Never burn charcoal indoors or in a garage.
  • Never service appliances without proper knowledge, skills, and tools.
  • Never use the gas range or oven for heating.
  • Never leave a car running in a garage.
  • Never operate unvented gas-burning appliances in a closed room.

Prepared by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission