CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)


Sources: Any common fuel-burning products can produce CO. Sources include heating equipment (furnaces, water heaters, fuel-fired space heaters), cook tops, ovens, charcoal grills, and engines.

Health Effects:
 CO itself is an odorless gas that can kill. Lower concentrations cause headaches, weakness, and drowsiness. Symptoms are often mistaken for the flu.

Detection:
 CO detectors are available. Plug-in UL-approved alarms with digital readout detection are best.

Solutions:
 CO accumulates in the home when heating appliances are not properly adjusted or vented or when normal venting cannot occur (cracked or rusted furnace heat exchanger, broken or rusted flue pipe, flow reversal in chimney caused by strong vent fan elsewhere in house). Have appliances inspected annually. Provide ventilation (window partially open) if unvented space heaters or strong vent fans are used. Operating gasoline or diesel engines in the house or in an attached garage will also cause CO problems.