How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented?
If you suspect a CO buildup or you’re experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, exit the area immediately and seek fresh air. You can take preventive steps to help safeguard your health:
Do a yearly inspection: At the beginning of each heating season, hire a trained professional to inspect your fuel-burning appliances, including:
- Oil and gas furnaces.
- Gas water heaters.
- Gas ranges and ovens.
- Gas dryers.
- Gas or kerosene space heaters.
- Wood stoves.
- Flues and chimneys (check for blockages and cracking).
Use appliances safely: In addition to a yearly inspection, make sure to:
- Choose appliances that vent fumes to the outside. They should be properly installed and maintained.
- Buy gas equipment that carries the seal of a national testing agency.
- Follow instructions for any fuel-burning appliance.
- Use the right fuel for any unvented gas or kerosene space heaters. Open the doors and crack a window in the rest of the home.
- Call an expert to inspect your gas refrigerator if you smell an odor.
- Never use a gas oven or clothes dryer as a heating source.
- Never sleep in a room with an unvented kerosene or gas space heater.
Install a carbon monoxide detector: Install a battery-operated (or battery backup) CO detector in your home. You should:
- Test the CO detector when you change the clocks twice a year to make sure it’s still in good working condition. Replace it every five years.
- Place the detector in a place where you will hear it if it alarms.
How else can I keep myself and my family safe from CO poisoning?
To lower your risk of CO poisoning, don’t:
- Idle a car or truck inside a garage, even if the garage door is open. (Fumes build up quickly and can even seep into your home if it’s attached to the garage.)
- Use a charcoal grill indoors.
- Use small, gasoline-powered engines in enclosed spaces. These include lawn mowers, power washers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chainsaws or generators.