CO Prevention

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Prevention
Dangerous levels of CO can be prevented by proper appliance maintenance, installation, and use.

  • A qualified service technician should check your home's central and room heating appliances (including water heaters and gas dryers) annually. The technician should look at the electrical and mechanical components of appliances, such as thermostat controls and automatic safety devices.
  • Chimneys and flues should be checked for blockages, corrosion, and loose connections.
  • Individual appliances should be serviced regularly. Kerosene and gas space heaters (vented and unvented) should be cleaned and inspected to insure proper operation.
  • Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends finding a reputable service company in the phone book or asking your utility company to suggest a qualified service technician.

  • Proper installation is critical to the safe operation of combustion appliances. All new appliances have installation instructions that should be followed exactly. Local building codes should be followed as well.
  • Vented appliances should be vented properly, according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Adequate combustion air should be provided to assure complete combustion.
  • All combustion appliances should be installed by professionals.

Appliance Use
  • Follow manufacturer's directions for safe operation.
  • Make sure the room where an unvented gas or kerosene space heater is used is well ventilated; doors leading to another room should be open to insure proper ventilation.
  • Never use an unvented combustion heater overnight or in a room where you are sleeping.
Improper Appliance Operation Signs
  • Decreasing hot water supply
  • Furnace unable to heat house or runs constantly
  • Increased condensation inside windows
  • Sooting, especially on appliances
  • Unfamiliar or burning odor
Visible CO Signs
  • Improper connections on vents and chimneys.
  • Visible rust or stains on vents and chimneys.
  • An appliance that makes unusual sounds or emits an unusual smell.
  • An appliance that keeps shutting off (Many new appliances have safety components attached that prevent operation if an unsafe condition exists. If an appliance stops operating, it may be because a safety device is preventing a dangerous condition. Therefore, don't try to operate an appliance that keeps shutting off; call a service person instead.)
Other Prevention
  • Never keep a car running in an attached garage
  • Never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in the home
  • Never use a range or oven to heat the living areas of the home