Referred to as “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that can be produced by incomplete combustion when carbon-based materials are burned such as wood, propane and natural gas. It can’t be seen, heard or smelled.
Your first line of defense is to make sure your heating system is inspected every year by a licensed heating contractor. CO detectors can add a layer of protection. However, they are not substitutes for proper use and upkeep of appliances.
CO poisoning symptoms are flu-like, including:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Weakness and tightness of the chest.
Be suspicious if all members of your family share the same symptoms and the symptoms clear up when you’re outside the house. If symptoms persist, see a doctor.
If you suspect CO:
- Check to see if anyone is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide. If anyone is overcome by CO, call 911.
- Do not panic. Get everyone out of the building.
- Get help for anyone in need of medical care.
- Open doors, windows to let in fresh air.
- Turn the thermostat to the lowest setting.
- Turn off all unvented appliances (range, auxiliary heater).
- Turn the water heater to the lowest setting.
- Check flues for obstructions.
- Check for soot around the water heater and furnace.
- Check for a vehicle or small engine operating in an attached garage or basement.
If you are unable to determine the cause, call a licensed heating contractor or our emergency number, 402.554.7777.
For additional carbon monoxide safety tips, click here.