Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can cause illness and even death when not properly vented by your furnace or appliances. Carbon monoxide comes from the incomplete combustion of common fuels such as heating oil, gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane and natural gas.

Proper Ventilation

When properly operated and maintained, natural gas heating equipment and appliances are safe and efficient. But if your appliances or heating equipment are not properly operated and vented, carbon monoxide could back up into your living space.

Improper venting can be caused by the following:

  • Chimneys or vents blocked by leaves, bird nests, debris or heating residue
  • Malfunctioning or improperly installed equipment
  • Heating equipment improperly enclosed by paneling or other structures
  • Improperly vented equipment

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Buildup

  • Stuffy or stale air
  • Very high humidity
  • Fallen soot from your chimney or draft hood
  • A hot draft coming from your draft hood

If carbon monoxide has been backing up into your living space for some time, you may experience carbon monoxide poisoning. While carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely rare, be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Very high humidity
  • Heart flutters
  • Stinging eyes
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Have a HVAC technician check your heating equipment annually.
  • Keep the area surrounding your gas appliances clear from clutter or trash.

Carbon monoxide detectors may be helpful in your home or business. But remember, a carbon monoxide detector should never be substituted for using equipment safely—which includes having your heating and cooking appliances inspected yearly by a trained professional.

There are many carbon monoxide detectors on the market. Regardless of brand, the detector you purchase should meet current UL standards and must be installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions.