The Colorless, Odorless, Tasteless Gas That Can Kill...
Where does it come from?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced from burning any fuel. Any fuel burning appliance in your home is a possible source of CO. Your car exhaust is a source of CO, too.
When appliances and their vents are in good working order, there is little danger from CO. When they don't operate properly, fatal CO concentrations can be produced. Running a car in a garage or using charcoal indoors can also cause CO poisoning.
What does it do?
Carbon monoxide displaces the body's essential oxygen. Besides flu-like symptoms, it can also cause vomiting, loss of consciousness, brain damage and eventually, death. Unborn babies, infants, senior citizens and people with heart problems or breathing difficulties are especially at risk.
If you feel better...
If symptoms disappear and you feel better when you do outside your home, but symptoms reappear when you go back inside, you may have CO poisoning.
Do's And Dont's
Do... Install CO detectors in your home; at least one near sleeping areas, another outside furnace room.
Do... Make sure manufacturer's instructions and local building codes are followed when installing fuel-burning appliances.
Do... Have your heating system inspected and serviced annually.
Do... Follow manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.
Do... Inspect chimneys and vents regularly for improper connections, rust or stains.
Do... Be aware of any indications that an appliance is not operating properly.
Do... If your CO detector activates, open windows, get everyone out and call for help.
Don't... Burn charcoal indoors or in a garage.
Don't... Use a gas oven for heating
Don't... Leave a car running in a garage.
Don't... Operate un-vented fuel-burning appliances in a closed room.