Carbon Monoxide (CO) Dangers


  • CO is a produced anytime a fuel is burned. Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators, and car exhaust fumes.

  • CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. (Centers for Disease Control)

  • Every year more than 10,000 people die or seek medical attention due to CO poisoning from home-related products. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)

  • More than two-thirds of Americans use gas, wood, kerosene or another fuel as their home's major heat source.

  • 65% of CO poisoning deaths from consumer products are due to heating systems.

  • Only 27% of homes in America have carbon monoxide alarms, according to the Hardware/Homecenter Research Industry.

  • An idling vehicle in an attached garage, even with the garage door opened, can produce concentrated amounts of CO that can enter your home through the garage door or nearby windows.

  • CO poisoning deaths from portable generators have doubled for the past two years, and many of these deaths occurred in the winter months.

  • A poorly maintained gas stove can give off twice the amount of CO than one in good working order.
  • Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm or AC-powered unit with battery backup on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.

  • Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually.

  • Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting. Have all fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually.

  • Do not block or seal shut the exhaust flues or ducts used by water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.

  • Do not leave your car running in an attached garage or carport.

  • Do not use ovens or stoves to heat your home.

  • Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside or operate outdoors near a window where CO fumes could seep in through a window.

  • Check all carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Do they use the most accurate sensing technology? Do they need new batteries?

  • Replace CO alarms every five years in order to benefit from the latest technology upgrades.
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