Carbon Monoxide Awareness
When appliances are installed properly and operating efficiently, natural gas burns cleanly, with little residue. However, if your natural gas appliance is not operating efficiently or not vented properly, carbon monoxide can be produced.
Carbon monoxide, also called CO, is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can make you sick and, in some circumstances, may be deadly. Carbon monoxide is created by the incomplete or improper burning of fuel.
Learn to recognize the following symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Potential Signs of Carbon Monoxide
- Yellow flame instead of a blue flame on appliance burners
- Black soot around vents, flues, furnace filters, burners or appliance access openings
- Headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, increased perspiration, nausea, weakness and vomiting
Helpful Prevention Tips
- Install and maintain a carbon monoxide detector, available at most retail 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 potential warning sign that the appliance is not operating or venting properly.
- Never use a natural gas range or outdoor space heater to heat your home.
- Check for proper ventilation of your appliances and chimney flues.
- Maintenance is key! Clean or replace your furnace filters regularly and have a qualified contractor inspect your heating equipment and natural gas appliances annually.
What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Immediately leave the building you are in and get outside to fresh air.
- Call 911 or call your local fire or police department and if necessary, request medical assistance.
- Do not re-enter the building until it has been determined safe by emergency response personnel.
- Immediately seek medical assistance for any symptoms, even those you think are minor.