Carbon Monoxide FAQs
- What is carbon monoxide (CO)?
A colorless, odorless toxic gas that is flammable and can kill you
- What are symptoms of CO poisoning?
Sleepiness, headaches, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea/vomiting, chest pains and flu-like symptoms
- What are common sources of CO around my home?
- Furnaces and other gas appliances, such as your gas clothes dryer and water heater
- Wood- or charcoal-burning stoves and grills
- Gas- or wood-burning fireplaces
- Vehicle exhaust and gas-powered engines (lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.)
- Kerosene heaters, lanterns, and other appliances
- How do I prevent CO poisoning in my home?
- Install battery-operated, or battery back-up CO detectors in your home where it will be heard, such as outside of each bedroom and at least one on every level. (Consider buying detectors with a digital readout that tells you your current CO levels in your home.)
- Replace the batteries in your alarms once a year and replace the detectors every five years.
- Have your gas and/or coal-burning appliances (furnace, dryer, water heater, etc.) serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not use flameless, portable chemical heaters indoors.
- Ensure your gas appliances are vented properly.
- Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year.
- Never patch a vent pipe with tape or gum.
- Never use your gas range or oven to heat your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never burn charcoal indoors.
- Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement, garage, or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
- When using a generator, make sure you have a working battery-powered CO detector in your home, cabin, or camper.
- What should I do when my CO detector goes off?
- Check to see if anyone is showing signs of CO poisoning. If they are, get the person outside immediately and call 9-1-1.
- If there are no immediate health issues, call your utility company or an appliance repair service.
- Open windows.
- Check to see if your CO detector has failed (needs new batteries, etc.).
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention [https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm]