[Carbon Monoxide]

Carbon Monoxide, CO, can be a silent killer in a home.

The young, the sick and the old are more likely to get sick from carbon monoxide in your home than anyone else.

Carbon monoxide, or CO as it is commonly referred to, is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is a by product of incomplete combustion from a stove, furnace, or other combustible appliance in a home (and in some cases, outside of the home or in the garage). It is a deadly gas that may be present in your home that can make you and your family sick or even kill you.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause headaches, impaired vision and coordination, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and at high concentrations can lead to confusion, nausea and death.  Typically CO can be created by gas furnaces, fireplaces, gas stoves/ovens, gas water heaters, portable generators, other combustion equipment, and automobiles operated in attached garages.  Gas ovens, for example, belch out a lot of CO into the home, especially if it has not been cleaned in awhile.

In Maricopa county, you are more susceptible to CO poisoning when you use gas appliances in the home, especially when there is poor exhaust or ventilation in the home.  Even homes with electric only appliances can be at risk for elevated levels of carbon monoxide with other risk factors are present, such as an attached garage for example.

You can preventing carbon monoxide in your home with the proper care and maintenance of all gas appliances. Properly serviced gas appliances will ensure that the equipment is operating as it is designed.

More importantly, you need to install CO detectors in your home, even if you do not have any gas appliances. Since CO is a colorless and odorless gas, there is not any way that you are able to detect CO build up without a carbon monoxide detector. Most CO detectors will detect high concentrations of CO in the home though you may still feel the effects of lower levels of CO poisoning if your CO detector has a high or long term type threshold to alert you. The typical lifespan of a CO alarm is between 5 and 7 years, but it varies by manufacturer.

Also, all of your gas appliances should have proper ventilation and draft hoods, especially indoor furnaces and water heaters that produce high levels of CO in the home. Indoor gas stoves and ovens should have range hoods that directly vent to the outdoors and be tested that they have enough capacity to pull sufficient CO to the outdoors.