Carbon Monoxide Concerns
Protecting Yourself from Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide was the "silent killer" of 250 people in the U. S. last year. It is called "silent" because it is odorless, tasteless and colorless. It is caused by improperly operating fuel-burning appliances. The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu; headaches, dizziness, fatigue, chest and breathing difficulties. Symptoms are often ignored until permanent damage or death occurs.
CO poisoning can be avoided by having your fuel-burning appliances check out by a qualified technician each year.
Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Buy and install a CO detector outside each sleeping area in your home. Don't install them over or across from a fuel-burning appliance. Units may be wired into your home's electrical system or operate from batteries. Test the unit every month and replace the battery at least once a year.
CO detectors will sound an alarm before dangerous levels of CO can accumulate. Units with audible alarms are preferred because most incidents of CO accumulation occur at night and audible alarms will wake you. Install and maintain the unit in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Responding to a CO Alarm
Never ignore the alarm. If it sounds, open doors and windows for ventilation, turn off fuel-burning appliances, and call a qualified technician to inspect the appliances as soon as possible. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms call for the fire department or have someone take you to a hospital emergency room.
If you have ventilated the house, and you have no symptoms, you can return to the house, but do not operate any fuel-burning appliances until they have been checked out and the problem resolved.