Oklahoma City, Oklahoma -- January 21 -- Oklahoma Natural Gas reminds customers that heating your home with natural gas is a safe, reliable and energy-efficient way to stay warm throughout the winter. However, it's important to make sure that your natural gas heaters and appliances are working properly to prevent the creation of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. Overexposure can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can result in illness or even death. Carbon monoxide is created by the incomplete or improper burning of fuel, including natural gas. 

What can you do to prevent carbon monoxide exposure?

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector, which are available at most retailers and hardware stores.
  • Pay attention to the color of the flame on your natural gas appliances -- a yellow flame instead of a blue flame is a warning sign that the appliance is not operating or venting properly. If you see a yellow flame, turn off your burner and call Oklahoma Natural Gas.
  • Never use a natural gas range or outdoor space heater to heat your home. 
  • Check and maintain proper ventilation of your appliances and chimney flues. 
  • Clean or replace your furnace filters regularly and have a qualified contractor inspect your heating equipment annually.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms, including headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, fatigue and vomiting. As carbon monoxide levels increase, symptoms may become more severe and include shortness of breath, muscular weakness, mental confusion and unconsciousness. 

 If you experience the symptoms mentioned above or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, immediately leave the house or building, then call 911 or local emergency responders, if necessary, to request medical assistance. Emergency responders are trained to identify and treat the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as assess the source of the carbon monoxide.