Carbon Monoxide Facts:


What is Carbon Monoxide?
  • Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas.
  • It is produced by incomplete combustion of fuels. This would include natural gas, propane gas, oil, gasoline, diesel, wood, fuels and the running of automobiles and smoking cigarettes.
Why is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?
  • Carbon Monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen by reacting with oxygen carrying portion of the blood. Due to its nature of rapidly displaces oxygen in the blood stream.
  • The effects of Carbon Monoxide are dependent on both Carbon Monoxide concentration and length of exposure.
  • Carbon Monoxide is undetectable by humans.
  • Low levels of exposure can be hazardous to children, infants, the unborn, elderly, and those with heart and lung disease.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
  • A mild exposure can cause nausea, headache, and symptoms can often be mistaken for common illness such as the flu or cold.
  • A medium exposure can cause severe headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate, increased respirations and cherry red lips.
  • An extreme exposure can cause unconsciousness, convulsions, cardiorespiratory failure, and death.
Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
  • Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be caused by improper installation, use, and operation of fuel combustion devices.
  • Some combustion devices require a vent. Proper size and operation is needed for safe application.
  • Fresh or make up air is needed for complete combustion.
Where to look for sources of Carbon Monoxide:
  • Furnace connections to chimneys that have rust, corrosion, gaps, holes or obstructions.
  • Furnace filters obstructed with dirt or other blockages. Outside venting systems with cracks, corrosion, holes, debris or other blockages.
  • Fire places with closed, blocked, or bent flues, soot or other debris or animal nests.
  • Running automobiles in side of garages even with the doors open.
  • Use of UN-vented kerosene heaters. They are not only illegal but dangerous.
  • Fresh make up air not provided when using any fuel burning appliance or heater.
  • Use of liquid fuel construction heaters.
  • Cooking on UN-vented stoves. Down drafts in chimneys.
  • Entry doors and other openings to attached garages.
  • Use of barbecue grills indoors.
  • Clothes dryer vents with blockage of lint build up.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
  • Are required in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in all places of
  • habitation where fossil fuels are burned.
  • They must be placed outside of and within ten feet of any bedroom door
  • They may be battery operated or plug-in, but plug-in detectors must have a battery back-up feature.
  • The batteries should be changed each Spring and Fall when you change your clocks, same as your smoke detector batteries.