Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odourless, toxic gas. When inhaled, CO interferes with the blood's ability to absorb and transport oxygen. Exposure to high amounts of CO can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and death.
Common signs to watch for include flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea, dizziness drowsiness, confusion and even loss of consciousness.
Protect your family by having registered contractors service natural gas appliances, ensure outside air ducts, exhaust vents, etc. allow a free flow of air, read and keep manufacturer's operating maintenance manuals, always keep furnace fan compartment doors and/or the filter access panel in place, and if you have an open wood-burning fireplace, make sure the damper is open partially. A CO alarm offers extra protection, but is not a substitute for regular maintenance and inspection.
If you think there's carbon monoxide in your home, please follow these steps immediately:
- 1. Open doors and windows to air out the area.
- 2. Get everyone (even the pets) to fresh air immediately.
- 3. Seek medical advice immediately for physical symptoms.
- 4. Turn off the suspect appliance.
- 5. Have a registered gas contractor inspect your appliances.