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Carbon Monoxide Concerns in the Home

It is has no odor or color; and can be deadly. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fuel. When present in the home, unsuspecting family members could get carbon monoxide poisoning.

The risk is real with over 20,000 people suffering from CO poisoning every single year. [1] Most will receive treatment with no lasting side effects. Unfortunately, however, 400 individuals will die. Carbon monoxide is a household risk anywhere fuel is burned. Common sources of the invisible gas include:

  • Grill
  • Furnace
  • Chimney
  • Fireplace
  • Gas ovens
  • Gas stoves
  • Water heater
  • Clothes dryer
  • Gas space heaters
  • Gas lawn equipment
  • Garage kept vehicles

Practically every home in the nation has at least one potential source of carbon monoxide. Making sure gas-powered items operate in a well-ventilated area is critical to ensuring household safety. In addition, installing properly maintained CO detectors will alert family members of dangerous carbon monoxide levels.

Because carbon monoxide is both colorless and odorless, it is important to learn the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you or a loved one experience any of the following health symptoms, seek fresh air, call your physician immediately, and dial 911:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Dull headache
  • Loss of strength
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

Breathing in carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen your body needs to survive. It can happen unsuspectingly and cause serious injury. While we are regularly reminded to check our smoke alarms, making sure our homes are safe from dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can easily be overlooked. Make it a regular practice to be CO safe and check your carbon monoxide detectors twice a year.

1. https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm