Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that often goes undetected.

Carbon monoxide is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces. When the gas builds up in enclosed spaces, people or animals who breathe it can be poisoned. Ventilation does not guarantee safety.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in My Home?

Winter weather creates a risk for carbon monoxide poisoning as people turn on their heating systems and mistakenly warm their cars in garages.

  • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home near the bedrooms. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. The CDC offers these additional tips:
  • Have a qualified technician service your heating system, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes.
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
  • Never use a gas oven for heating your home.
  • Never let a car idle in the garage.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.