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Keeping Safe From Carbon Monoxide

Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves all help keep us warm in the cold of winter. But any fuel-burning system needs to be properly maintained and operated for safety’s sake.

Burning any fuel – oil, natural gas, kerosene or wood – releases carbon monoxide and particles into the air. Without proper ventilation, these particles can build up in your home, posing a threat to you and your loved ones.

A Few Simple Suggestions

The U.S. General Services Administration offers these tips for limiting carbon monoxide in your home:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions on gas or kerosene space heaters, making sure to use the correct fuel. A persistent yellow-tipped flame can be a warning sign that the heater is not adjusted properly and is emitting excess pollutants.
  • While a space heater is in use, open a door from the room where the heater is located to the rest of the house and open a window slightly.
  • Install and use exhaust fans over gas cooking stoves and ranges and keep the burners properly adjusted. Again, a persistent yellow tipped flame indicates that the burner is giving off excess emissions. Ask your gas company to adjust the burner so that the flame tip is blue.
  • If you purchase a new gas stove or range, consider buying one with pilotless ignition, meaning it does not have a pilot light that burns continuously.
  • Never use a gas stove to heat your home.
  • Always make certain the flue in your gas fireplace is open when the fireplace is in use.
  • Have central air handling systems, including furnaces, flues, and chimneys, inspected annually and promptly repair cracks or damaged parts.