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Texas Department of Insurance
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How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home

  1. What is carbon monoxide?

    Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that’s sometimes called the invisible killer. It comes from burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. You don’t want a lot of it around you.

  2. How can carbon monoxide hurt me?

    When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it replaces oxygen in your blood. This can make you short of breath or cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or even death.

  3. How can carbon monoxide build up in a home?

    The most common causes of carbon monoxide building up are incorrectly installed or poorly maintained or ventilated appliances – like stoves and hot water heaters. Poorly ventilated fireplaces and other gas- or wood-burning appliances can also pose danger.

  4. How can I protect my family from carbon monoxide?

    Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Make sure alarms aren’t blocked by furniture or curtains.

    Test alarms every month by pressing their test buttons.

    Alarm sensors don’t last forever. Replace your alarms every 10 years or when their end-of-life signals sound. Replace alarm batteries at least once a year.

  5. What should I do if the alarm goes off?

    Do not ignore it. When the alarm sounds, make sure everyone goes outdoors. Call 9-1-1 and stay outdoors until emergency responders say it’s safe to go back in.

  6. Any other tips?

    • Don’t cover the bottom of natural gas or propane ovens with aluminum foil. It can block air flow and cause carbon monoxide build-up.
    • Never leave a car or truck running in a garage. If your vehicle has remote start, make sure you don’t accidentally start it.
    • Never use a charcoal grill, oil lantern, or portable camping stove inside.
    • Never use a portable generator or any gas-powered engine in your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Only use these devices outdoors, and more than 20 feet away from open doors or windows. For more tips, see: How to use a generator safely.
    • Never use a stove or clothes dryer to heat your home.
    • When using a fireplace, make sure first that the flue is open.
    • During and after a winter storm, make sure vents for your dryer, heating system, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
    • Have your heating system inspected every year.

Resources

 

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Last updated: 2/23/2022