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Texas Department of Insurance
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July 7, 2022

How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

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Thousands of people are sent to the emergency room each year with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Learn how you can protect your family from this invisible killer.

Do I need a carbon monoxide detector in my home or camper?

Yes, everyone does. Carbon monoxide is let off by anything that burns fuel to run, like a car or appliances. Cars running in closed garages or gas-powered appliances could put carbon monoxide into your living space.

Do only broken appliances let off carbon monoxide?

Not necessarily. As appliances get older, they might let off carbon monoxide. Get gas appliances checked for leaks each year. The inspector will also look for damaged vents that aren’t pushing out carbon monoxide like they’re supposed to.

What are the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Headache, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. If you’ve been exposed longer, you could have blurred vision, shortness of breath, and might faint. If you’re exposed long enough, it could kill you.

Carbon monoxide is called “the silent killer” because you can’t smell it. If you have any symptoms and feel better outside your house, don’t go back inside. You should tell everyone at your house to leave. You might have been exposed to carbon monoxide.

Where do you install carbon monoxide detectors?

On every level of your home, including upper levels and basements. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on where on the wall or ceiling you should install them. Instructions should also include how far detectors should be installed from gas-powered appliances.

What do I do if the carbon monoxide detector goes off?

Don’t ignore it. Get everyone out of your house and call 9-1-1. If you can’t leave your house because it’s not safe outside, open all the windows to air out your house until help comes.