Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
When it’s cold outside it’s very important to be mindful of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and wood. If unsafe concentrations of carbon monoxide are not detected, the result can be fatal. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and convulsions. Because carbon monoxide is hard to detect, someone with mild poisoning can go to sleep and continue to breathe the carbon monoxide until severe illness or death occurs. People also might mistake their symptoms for a viral infection like the flu. Here’s how to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:
• Install a carbon monoxide detector. Detectors will warn you when concentrations become dangerously high. Check your detector regularly to make sure it works, and install fresh batteries once a year, when you change your smoke detector batteries.
• The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that detectors be placed near sleeping areas, where they can wake you if you are asleep.
• Never use generators, propane heaters, barbeques or charcoal indoors.
• Ensure that generators are properly installed and operated outdoors. For more generator safety tips, visit www.pge.com/generator/.
• When using the fire place, make sure the flue is open, and the chimney is venting properly.
• Do not idle cars inside the garage, and do not allow snow to block tailpipe emissions when operating a vehicle outdoors.
• Make sure water heaters and other natural gas appliances have proper ventilation. Older appliances and room heaters that are not vented externally should be inspected annually.
• To ensure that all natural gas furnaces and appliances inside the home are in proper working order, customers should inspect the flame on all gas appliances. A blue flame indicates that the appliance is working properly, and a yellow flame is a warning sign that the appliance is not burning properly and could be producing carbon monoxide.
• If customers suspect there is a problem with a natural gas appliance inside their home, they should call PG&E immediately at 1-800-743-5000. A gas service representative will be dispatched to do a thorough inspection free of charge.
• Have a trained professional regularly inspect furnaces and other gas appliances to ensure their safe operation. PG&E also will perform these inspections free of charge. To schedule an appointment, customers can call 1-800-743-5000 or visit our website at www.pge.com