How To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As weather conditions force people to spend more time indoors, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning grows. The odorless gas can knock people out before they realize they’re in trouble.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Things to avoid doing in order to protect yourself:

*Don’t your gas stove or oven as a replacement for a heater.

*Don’t use charcoal grills or camping stoves indoors.

*Don’t leave a vehicle running inside a garage.

*Make sure your vents are clear.

It’s a good idea to invest in a carbon monoxide detector. Nausea, vomiting, chest pains and confusion are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC says you should seek medical help if you suspect you’ve been poisoned.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]


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  1. Alvis says:

    This blog is so weird sometimes.

  2. Holybalheadedchrist! says:

    A lot of kids today are getting into the huffing. Take it from me, that street is nothing but a dead end. Carbon Monoxide = Danger. A great way to avoid dying from it is to keep carbon monoxide away from your lungs at all times. If you see carbon monoxide, run. Tell a parent or summon a constable. If you find one of your friends has carbon monoxide, say, in their locker at school, act fast and tell an adult. Remember, breathing carbon monoxide isn’t “cool,” or “jiggy” or “cold awesome.” Carbon monoxide kills.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I gaffawed at “constable.”

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Well, it’s a LITTLE jiggy.

    • rpm773 says:

      And don’t even get him started on dihydrogen monoxide.

    • Michaela says:

      I have never heard of people huffing carbon monoxide to get high. Mostly people huff things like nitrites (like laughing gas), aliphatic hydrocarbons (like gasoline and butane), ketones (like nail polish remover). Carbon monoxide is mainly huffed as a form of suicide, not pleasure.

  3. SonarTech52 says:

    " Don’t your gas stove or oven as a replacement for a heater. $quot;

    I know it is probably supposed to be Don’t (use) your gas stove…. Or maybe it’s a fill in the blank?

  4. ovalseven says:

    Don’t forget your gas stove or oven as a replacement for a heater?

  5. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Things to avoid doing in order to protect yourself:

    *Don’t your gas stove or oven as a replacement for a heater.
    *Don’t use charcoal grills or camping stoves indoors.
    *Don’t leave a vehicle running inside a garage.

    * roughly translated, “Don’t be a moron”

    • Rachacha says:

      You would be surprised how stupid people can be.

      A few years ago, I was searching for some ideas on how to protect my portable generator from the elements while in use and cut down on the noise polution. I ran across a blog post where an individual had installed his generator in his basement and modified the exhaust system to (theoretically) exhaust outdoors and was touting the fact that he maintained a 40 gallon gasoline storage tank in his basement. Forget the fact that he was using and storing gasoline in an enclosed space, he was using leaky flex tubing and compression fittings meant for an automobile exhaust in the house, and did not seemed concerned when a CO detector would go off when running the generator.

  6. Alvis says:

    Double negative is a list-fail.

    Things to avoid doing in order to protect yourself: Make sure your vents are clear

    So, avoid making sure your vents are clear?

  7. c!tizen says:

    Ahhh, common sense in list form, how refreshing.

  8. SonarTech52 says:

    Links are broken..

  9. Mamudoon says:

    “*Don’t use charcoal grills or camping stoves indoors.”

    Or generators. I’m always amazed at the number of people who don’t know that.

    • kalaratri says:

      I see people recommending camp stoves and such to cook with if the power goes out during a blizzard all the time. Not only is using one indoors stupid to begin with, but the house is probably battened down extra tightly as well.

    • Difdi says:

      Depends on the generator. Hydrogen fuel cells produce water vapor as an exhaust byproduct, there is no carbon monoxide involved.

    • gman863 says:

      The number of people who got CO poisoning from generators run in a garage or under a carport after a major hurricane (Ike, Katrina, etc.) was off the charts.

      +1 for Darwin’s Law of Natural Selection.

  10. roben.anderson says:

    *Don’t leave a vehicle running inside a garage.

    Even with the door open, CO lingers in the air in the garage, and if your garage is attached, then when the door gets closed, it will go into the house. Just like what happened this weekend at my in-law’s. We smelled what we thought was natural gas, but the guy from the energy co was finding that it was CO, not natural gas. We had to have the windows and doors open, not easy to do in zero degree weather in the northern plains.

    Also, keep your natural gas regulator/meter/intake deal free of any snow. My in-law’s was under a few feet of snow from the past snow storms, and I had to trek my way through 3 feet of snow in the yard to get to it. The snow around it can cause leaks, one way or another, and can keep the gas isolated to that area, which could push it into the house.

  11. EverCynicalTHX says:

    Great tips that most people would never think of!

    Just recently I was wondering why my living got so smokey while grilling in there.. now I know – and it could create a health hazard also.

  12. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Also, don’t let people who don’t know your stove use your Gas Stove. My boyfriend’s mother left the gas on TWICE over the holidays.

  13. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Is there any point to having a carbon monoxide monitor if your furnace and stove are electric? There’s an elderly lady who lives in my apartment building who calls the fire department whenever her carbon monoxide sensor goes off, but I’m pretty sure all of the stoves and furnaces in my building are electric.

    • SG-Cleve says:

      Other possible gas appliances are water heater and clothes dryer.

      If your building has attached garages or indoor parking in the basement you should have a carbon monoxide detector.

    • Difdi says:

      If there’s enough CO in the building to trip a detector, I’d say it doesn’t matter that all appliances are electric, that CO is coming from somewhere.

  14. Anonymously says:

    It’s not just a good idea to invest in a carbon monoxide detector, it’s a necessity. Mount it and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s the only way to be sure.

  15. dustindmw says:

    “As weather conditions force people to spend more time indoors, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning grows.” – My grandma who died of carbon monoxide in December thanks you for this information.

  16. Kibit says:

    If you use a wood burning stove you should have a carbon monoxide detector too.

    Link still broken.

  17. Anathema777 says:

    Make sure you mount a carbon monoxide detector where it can actually sense carbon monoxide. An apartment I rented had a carbon monoxide detector at the top of the basement stairs. This meant that it didn’t register the fact that our basement was filling with carbon monoxide after a vent got blocked up. We got lucky in that a person doing maintenance on our boiler checked the carbon monoxide levels and warned us about it.

    • Rachacha says:

      I would add, in addition to placing a CO detector near your furnace, water heater and stove, I would also suggest that you install one near sleeping quarters so you can hear it while you are sleeping for a couple of reasons:

      1) During the night it is colder causing your furnace to run more increasing the liklihood of excess CO buildup.
      2) During the day if you are home, you are likely opening doors periodically which brings fresh air into the house reducing CO buildup.
      3) Most vents for water heaters and furnaces vent from the basement, through interior walls on the first and second floors (as applicable) and out through the roof. If there is a leak in your vent, a CO detector near the sleeping quarters (on the first/second floor) will pick it up.
      4) While you are sleeping, you are less likely to notice the effects of CO poisioning but while you are awake, you are more likely to notice that you are nauseous or excessively tired or confused.

  18. synergy says:

    I used to use the oven as a heater when I lived in the terrible midwest. I was also smart enough to crack a window now and then.

  19. Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

    Pro tip: don’t get so liquored up that when you park in your garage you pass out immediately while leaving your car running thus asphyxiating on CO.

  20. Jerkamie says:

    Hasn’t the heat been on now for around 2 months?