When breathed, CO combines with the blood and prevents it from absorbing oxygen. Carbon monoxide can be produced by incomplete combustion, often the result of improperly adjusted or poorly-vented appliances. Annual check-ups of these appliances help ensure proper and safe operation. To prevent CO buildup:
CenterPoint Energy offers up these tips to avoid a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas:
1) Have your heating system checked annually prior to heating season by a qualified heating and air conditioning technician.
2)Follow manufacturers' operating instructions properly for gas heating equipment.
3)Do not use stovetop burners or ovens to heat a room since they are not designed for this use.
4)Make sure to follow the blue flame rule. Natural gas flames should burn blue except natural gas fireplace logs which burn orange to have a more realistic wood-burning look.
5)Crack windows slightly if using unvented space heaters.
6)Consider buying a CO detector as another line of defense against CO poisoning. CenterPoint Energy recommends buying one with an audible alarm and continuous digital display; make sure it is tested to the national standard for residential CO detectors (UL2034 or IAS NO. 6-96).
If you are in a room with operating gas equipment and experience a headache, followed by dizziness and nausea, you may be experiencing CO poisoning.