Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect because it can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted. Undetected, carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly, which is why following these safety tips is so important:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. 
  • Check your carbon monoxide detectors annually to make sure they are working properly. Replace batteries as needed.  
  • Replace your carbon monoxide detectors in accordance with your manufacturer’s recommendation or as needed. 

How does carbon monoxide enter my home?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is formed when carbon-based fuels – such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil or wood – don’t burn completely (incomplete combustion). 

Besides my carbon monoxide detector alarming,  what are other signs of carbon monoxide exposure?

When you’re using an appliance that runs on natural gas, pay attention to the following warning signs:

  • A yellow, large and unsteady burner flame (except in natural gas fireplace logs). 
  • Built-up soot in the appliance. 
  • An unusual, pungent odor that can indicate the presence of another byproduct of incomplete combustion while the appliance is in operation. 
  • Triggering of a carbon monoxide detector or alarm. 
  • Household members with symptoms of unexplained nausea, drowsiness or flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, and vomiting.  

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide?

  1. Immediately turn off all gas appliances if it’s safe to do so. 

  2. If safe to do so, ventilate the home or evacuate and call 911. 
  3. Seek medical attention if necessary. 
  4. Arrange an inspection immediately and don’t use the affected appliance until a qualified, licensed professional confirms it’s safe. We can perform this inspection if your appliance runs on natural gas. Contact us at 1-800-411-7343.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide from being produced?

To help prevent carbon monoxide from being produced, keep your natural gas appliances in good working order. Schedule an annual safety checkup with us or with a qualified, licensed professional. 

In addition to regular inspections, here are some simple tips to help you to stay safe: 

  • Never use gas ovens or other non-heating appliances for space heating (i.e., BBQ or propane stoves). 
  • Periodically check gas appliances to make sure pilot lights and burner flames are clear blue and burning properly. A soft yellow flame can indicate carbon monoxide. 
  • Keep the area around gas appliances clean, well-ventilated and free of any items that might block normal airflow. 
  • Always make sure the damper is open when using any type of fireplace (gas or wood burning). Using an unvented gas fireplace is dangerous and violates the California Health and Safety Code. 

Carbon monoxide exposure is very dangerous! Help keep our community safe by spreading these safety tips!