According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), when winter temperatures plummet and home heating systems run for hours the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning increases. Every year, more than 100,000 people visit the emergency room and more than 400 people die in the United States from accidental CO poisoning. Making smart heating decisions and taking proper steps in your home can help you avoid a disaster.
CO is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and a carbon monoxide alarm is the only way to know if there are dangerous levels in your home. It's important to keep a carbon monoxide alarm within 10 feet of all sleeping areas and on every level of your home.
Carbon monoxide alarms expire after 5–10 years, depending on the manufacturer. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year. If your CO alarm is sounding with several beeps in quick succession, not just a single chirp every 30 seconds or so, evacuate the home and call 911.
Avoid Unnecessary Risks
- Vehicles should not be left running in a garage, even if the garage door is open.
- Never use an oven or grill to heat the home, even if the oven is electric.
- Be sure your fireplace flue is open before having a fire in a fireplace.
For more CO safety information, visit the NFPA website.