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Checklist to Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is often referred to as CO, which is its chemical symbol. Unlike many gases, CO has no odor, color, or taste, and it doesn't irritate your skin. Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. If there is a lot of CO in the air, your body may replace oxygen in your blood with CO. This blocks oxygen from getting into your body, which can damage tissues in your body and can kill you. Knowing where CO is found and how to avoid it can protect you from serious injury or death.

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Figure 136: Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. If there is a lot of CO in the air, your body may replace oxygen in your blood with CO. This blocks oxygen from getting into your body, which can damage tissues in your body and can kill you.

Test your Carbon Monoxide knowledge with the following interactive quizzes and review Figure 137.

  • The Home, Cabin, and Camper

Most questions will apply equally to homeowners, campers, and renters. Renters should ask their landlords about maintenance and repairs.

  • How often should I have my fireplace draft and the drafts of other fuel-burning appliances checked? Every year. Have all fuel-burning venting systems in your home checked by an expert every year.

  • How often should my gas appliances be checked? Every year. Have all gas appliances checked every year. Your gas company may be willing to do this for you.

  • Do all gas appliances need to be vented? Yes. All gas appliances must be vented so that CO will not build up in your home, cabin, or camper.

  • How often should my chimney vent be checked for defects or debris? Every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin. Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year.

  • Is it okay to patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else? No. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.

  • Should the horizontal vent pipes to my fuel appliances be perfectly level? No. Indoor vent pipes should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors. This helps prevent CO or other gases from leaking if the joints or pipes aren't fitted tightly.

  • Should I use my gas range or oven for heating? No. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.

  • Is it normal for the cooling unit of my gas refrigerator give off an odor? No. An odor from the cooling unit of your gas refrigerator can mean you have a defect in the cooling unit. It could also be giving off CO. If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator's cooling unit you should have an expert service it.

  • Should I use a charcoal grill or a barbecue grill indoors? No. Using a grill indoors will cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper unless you use it inside a vented fireplace.

  • Should I burn charcoal indoors? No. Burning charcoal--red, gray, black, or white-- gives off CO.

  • Are portable flameless chemical heaters (catalytic) safe to use indoors? No. Although these heaters don't have a flame, they burn gas and can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.

  • Should I use a portable gas camp stove indoors? No. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.

 

  • Your Car or Truck
  • How often should I have a mechanic check the exhaust system of my car? Every year. A small leak in your car's exhaust system can lead to a build up of CO inside the car.

  • Is it okay to run my car or truck in the garage with the garage door shut? No. CO can build up quickly while your car or truck is running an a closed garage. Never run your car in a garage unless the outside door is open to let in fresh air.

  • Do I need to leave the door closed between my attached garage and my house when I run my car or truck in the garage? Yes. CO can easily go from your garage through the door that opens into your house, even if your garage door is open to let in fresh air. Keep the door connecting your garage to your house closed when your car or truck is running in your garage.

  • I drive a station wagon. Should I lower the tailgate to get more air in the car? If you open the tailgate, you also need to open vents or windows to make sure air is moving through your car. If only the tailgate is open CO from the exhaust will be pulled into the car.

  • Appliances
  • When I choose gas equipment, how do I know what's safe? Buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as the American Gas Association or the Underwriters Laboratory.

  • How hard is it to convert a fuel burner from one fuel to another? It can be very hard to do this safely. You need to have an expert make the right changes and check whether the burner is venting correctly.

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Real Estate Market Value Price Expert Home Inspection Repairs Improvements

Figure 137: Carbon Monoxide is produced by fuel-burning appliances which MUST be checked every year!

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