Carbon Monoxide Safety
Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention
IF YOU ARE ALERTED BY YOUR CO DETECTOR, OR IF YOU SUSPECT CO POISONING, MOVE EVERYONE (INCLUDING PETS)
TO FRESH AIR IMMEDIATELY AND CALL FOR EMERGENCY SERVICE.
All fossil fuels can produce an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas called Carbon Monoxide (CO) whenever it doesn’t burn properly. CO can occur with a malfunctioning appliance or blocked chimney.
For your protection, a CO detector should be installed on each floor of a home, particularly sleeping areas. CO detectors have a limited operating life. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for related information and replacement considerations.
You may have a CO problem if water vapor is condensing on windows (other than bathrooms and kitchens) or you’re experiencing unexplained headaches, dizziness, flu-like signs and nausea. If your CO detector goes off, or you suspect CO poisoning, move to fresh air and call for emergency service.
How to Prevent Dangerous CO Build-Up:
USE A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL
Fuel-burning equipment operated inside a building should be specified and installed by a qualified technician according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Oversized equipment can be inefficient, costly to operate and possibly dangerous.
VENT THE AREA PROPERLY
Fuel-burning equipment requires proper venting and air flow to ensure the correct mix of fuel and oxygen for complete combustion. This is particularly important in today’s tightly constructed homes.
DO NOT ENCLOSE EQUIPMENT
Combustion problems can occur when fuel-burning equipment is installed in a confined space. A professional should calculate the space required for safe operation based on the BTUs per hour of all equipment installed in the room. The use of attic or house fans, as well as wood-burning fireplaces, should also be taken into consideration.