What You Need to Know about Carbon Monoxide


What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)? Where does it come from? How can I prevent CO Poisoning?  What should I do if I suspect I have CO Poisoning? All very important questions that home owners and even businesses should ask themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.” Luckily, there are ways to prevent this from happening.

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

  • It is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas
  • commonly known as the “silent killer” because it goes undetected and you may have it and not even know
  • It is created from burning fuels such as natural gas, gasoline, propane, oil, and even wood.

Where does it come from?

  • home appliances
    • such as gas or oil furnaces gas
    • refrigerators
    • dryers
    • gas ranges
    • gas water heaters or space heaters
    • fireplaces
    • wood burning stoves
  • Vehicles
  • Operating a grill in an enclosed place
  • Blocked chimney

What to do if you suspect you have CO Poisoning?

  • Leave the area immediately, get to fresh air, and call 911

Preventing CO Poisoning

  • Purchase a Carbon Monoxide Alarm and install it near the sleeping area
    • Be sure to test your alarm twice a year and replace batteries  every 3 months or when needed.
  • Analyze the vents, heating system, chimney and fuel yearly by a technician
    • To ensure that your house is properly ventilated
  • Do NOT use a gas range or stove for warmth
    • There are plenty of other options to heat your home. It’s best for your health not to do this.
  • Never leave your car idling in a closed garage. Carbon monoxide can flow into your home through vents and doors.

Amanda’s Law (New York State)

Amanda’s Law was named after Buffalo, NY native Amanda Hansen who lost her life to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from a defective boiler at a friend’s house in January 2009. This law went into effect February 22, 2010 to defend families from the leading cause of death in the United States, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Amanda’s Law is composed of a list of requirements that New York State residents must obey in regard to CO alarms/detectors.

Be sure to check with your state to make sure you are following their rules and regulations regarding Carbon Monoxide alarms/detectors.

Here are what some CO Alarms look like

Battery-operated Carbon Monoxide Alarms sometimes may or may not be digital. They may be plugged in to an outlet in the wall.

4237103 - front panel display of explosive gas and carbon monoxide detector.

Digital Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms display a numeral number of the current level of CO in the area.

Some Carbon Monoxide Alarms dual as a smoke and fire alarm as well. These tend to be hard wired into your electrical system and usually battery-operated as well.


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