Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that is the by-product of incomplete combustion of fuel. Hundreds of people die in our country each year from CO poisoning; but most deaths can be prevented through greater awareness and education.
There is a misconception that carbon monoxide is only a cold-weather danger due to people switching their thermostats from cooling to heating. The reality is that year-round there are multiple sources of combustion that can produce carbon monoxide gas.
Carbon Monoxide Sources
- At its core, any device that burns a solid, liquid, or gas is capable of producing carbon monoxide.
- Common sources of CO include:
- A malfunctioning or incorrectly vented furnace or water heater
- An unvented space heater
- Fireplaces that are not exhausting properly or have a chimney defect
- Leaking gas-fired stoves and ovens
- Charcoal grills or gas stoves being used to warm a house
- Vehicles in attached garages with the engine running (even with the garage door open)
Carbon Monoxide poisoning may include any of the following symptoms: Headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, loss of hearing, blurry vision, disorientation, loss of consciousness and respiratory failure.
Everyone is at risk, but individuals with health problems such as heart or lung diseases, the elderly, infants, children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable.
Anyone who experiences symptoms of CO poisoning should leave the premises at once and call 9-1-1.
We highly recommend you engage in two preventive practices regarding carbon monoxide:
- Have your furnaces and fireplaces cleaned and inspected before each heating season
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms (but not as a substitute for regular furnace maintenance)
If you have questions or would like a free carbon monoxide test of your home or business, please contact our administrative line at 614-885-7640 during weekday business hours.