Licensed professionals stand ready to help make your home safer
You can’t see it, hear it, or smell it, but it causes more than 400 U.S. deaths and 50,000 emergency-room visits each year. But you can stop carbon monoxide (CO) from harming you and your family.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, deadly gas that, when breathed, stops your blood cells from carrying enough oxygen. Your brain and heart suffer most quickly, but all organs are harmed. High levels of carbon monoxide can kill, but even low levels can have long-lasting effects like permanent brain or heart damage.
This gas can come from a variety of innocent-looking everyday items in your home and garage, including:
- Space heaters
- Clothes dryers
- Charcoal grills
- Cooking ranges
- Water heaters
- Portable generators
- Wood-burning stoves
- Car and truck engines.
Although CO gas is invisible, its effects on you can be noticeable: Be on the lookout for symptoms like a dull headache, shortness of breath during mild exertion, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, visual disturbances and blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, and loss of consciousness. If you and your family members start experiencing these symptoms, turn off any appliances and open windows if safe to do so, go outside, and call 911 for immediate medical assistance.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers simple do’s and don’ts that can make a big difference in preventing CO poisoning:
- Do have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified professional every year.
- Do install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
- Do seek prompt medical help if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
- Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
- Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
- Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
- Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
- Don’t use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. Use an extension cord that is more than 20 feet long to keep the generator at a safe distance.
Licensees of Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Household Goods and Services and Contractors State License Board are trained, regulated, and dedicated to making your home and appliances safe. Find out more about these professionals’ services at https://bhgs.dca.ca.gov and www.cslb.ca.gov, and check professionals’ licenses at search.dca.ca.gov.