How Can I Eliminate Sources of Carbon Monoxide in My Home?
The most important step you can take to eliminate the possibility of CO poisoning is to ensure that CO never has an opportunity to enter your home. This is your first line of defence. Review this list to minimize the risk of CO in your home.
- Have a qualified technician inspect and clean fuel-burning appliances yearly, before the cold weather sets in, to ensure they are in good working order.
- Have a qualified technician inspect chimneys and vents yearly for cracks, blockages (e.g., bird’s nests, twigs, old mortar), corrosion or holes.
- Check fireplaces for closed or blocked flues.
- Check with a qualified technician before enclosing heating and hot water equipment in a smaller room, to ensure there is adequate air for proper combustion.
- If you have a powerful kitchen exhaust fan or downdraft cooktop, have a qualified technician check that its operation does not pull fumes back down the chimney.
- Never use propane or natural gas stove tops or ovens to heat your home.
- Never start a vehicle in a closed garage; open the garage doors first. Pull the car out immediately onto the driveway, then close the garage door to prevent exhaust fumes from being drawn into the house.
- Do not use a remote automobile starter when the car is in the garage; even if the garage doors are open.
- Never operate propane, natural gas or charcoal barbecue grills indoors or in an attached garage.
- Avoid the use of a kerosene space heater indoors or in a garage. If its use is unavoidable provide combustion air by opening a window while operating. Refuel outside after the unit has cooled.
- Never run a lawnmower, snowblower, or any gasoline-powered tool such as a whipper snipper or pressure washer inside a garage or house.
- The use of fossil fuels for refrigeration, cooking, heat, and light inside tents, trailers, and motorhomes can be very dangerous. Be sure that all equipment is properly vented to the outside and use electric or battery-powered equipment where possible.
- Regularly clean the clothes dryer ductwork and outside vent cover for blockages such as lint, snow, or overgrown outdoor plants.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of fondue heaters indoors.
- If you live close to a road with heavy traffic, outdoor carbon monoxide levels can affect your indoor air quality, especially during rush hour. Such levels should not set off a CO alarm, but slightly elevated CO levels might be observable on some types of CO detectors with a digital display.