By now you probably know that carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that’s almost impossible to detect with human senses alone, but you may not know exactly what to do to avoid the danger. CO is a byproduct of internal combustion engines and the result of incomplete natural gas, oil and other fossil fuel burning. Poisoning can result in everything from headaches and dizziness to loss of consciousness and death if you’re exposed to high concentrations or for prolonged periods.

Preventing the build-up of CO is crucial for the health of everyone that lives in your home or multi-unit property. In order to reduce your chances of exposure, you can:

  • Hire the right contractor to ensure all your appliances are properly installed and operating correctly, and never work on a fuel-burning device yourself unless you know exactly what you’re doing according to the owner’s manual.
  • Avoid burning any kind of fuel in an enclosed space like a tent, garage, vehicle or inside your home.
  • Turn your vehicle off when it’s inside a garage or other enclosed space even if the door is open.
  • Check appliance vents and chimneys to make sure they’re not being blocked by tape or other materials during a home renovation.
  • Only operate generators and gas-powered tools outside. Carbon monoxide produced by these devices can quickly build-up in enclosed spaces.
  • Make sure the bottom or propane or natural gas ovens are never covered with aluminum foil. Doing this can prevent the full combustion of gas and produce CO.
  • Install a quality carbon monoxide monitor, but do not rely on it completely for safety. Test the device regularly and replace it when the manufacturer recommends.

In the event you’ve been poisoned by carbon monoxide, get outside as quickly as possible, contact the fire department and then see a doctor. If you want more information about improving indoor air quality or other issues related to your home’s comfort, please contact us at Comfort Systems. We’ve been helping families throughout the Wichita area since 1996.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about carbon monoxide and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.