Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisoning gas. It’s produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, oil, kerosene, and natural gas. On average, 170 people in the United States die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. A number of non-automotive consumer products can produce CO, including furnaces, ranges, water and room heaters, fireplaces, and portable generators.
Since CO is undetectable to the human senses, people may not know they are being exposed. Initial symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness.
Here are some tips to prevent CO poisoning:
- Make sure appliances are installed and operated according to the manufacturer's instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by qualified professionals.
- Never operate a portable generator or any other gasoline engine-powered tool in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, house, or other building.
- Install CO alarms which meet safety standard requirements. Install a CO alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the alarm is not covered by furniture or draperies.
- Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
- Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers to heat your home.
- Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, click here. Florida Peninsula suggests homeowners install a carbon monoxide detector and regularly test it to ensure it is in proper working order. Homeowners should meet with an agent regularly to make sure they understand their policy.