Under normal operating conditions natural gas burns cleanly and safely. If the gas is not burning properly, or a gas appliance is not operating properly, incomplete combustion can occur and carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide (commonly referred to as CO) is a silent killer. It is an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas that is potentially fatal.
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms can occur immediately or more gradually after long-term exposure.
Common symptoms include:
Often, these flu-like symptoms will affect your entire family at the same time. But unlike the flu, if everyone feels better after they leave the house, then worse when they return home, your family could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you have these symptoms after being in an enclosed area, get fresh air immediately and go to a hospital emergency department. Be sure to tell your doctor that you may have carbon monoxide poisoning. Call a qualified technician to check your fuel-burning appliances as soon as possible.
In most cases, with a combination of preventative maintenance and common sense, you can keep your home carbon monoxide free. Assure that fuel-burning appliances are installed, maintained, and used properly and safely. That includes having an annual inspection of heating and venting equipment by a qualified technician prior to each heating season to ensure that they are operating correctly, and the use of a carbon monoxide alarm that meets current standards.