Carbon Monoxide

Close-up Of Person Hand Pressing Smoke Detector

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. It is a major cause in all fire-related deaths, and the number one cause of fatal gassing.

Always report damaged or broken smoke/CO detectors to maintenance to dispatch a technician; this is considered an emergency!

How do I know if I’ve been exposed?

Some acute, short term exposure symptoms are headaches, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, nausea, weakness; overall malaise. Long term, CO can cause brain damage and death. Due to the nature of the gas, you typically won’t know if you’ve been exposed without some form of CO detector.

How else can I protect my family?

The best way to detect CO is to have a working life safety system. Test your CO/Smoke detectors monthly (all hallway detectors also detect CO) and replace batteries yearly. Batteries are available for a 1 for 1 exchange at our U-Fix-It!

My alarm is going off or I think I’ve been exposed, what do I do?

First get out of the house, then call 911. CO reduces oxygen in the bloodstream, so the best course of action post-exposure is to get to fresh air to counterbalance the negative effects of the gas.

What causes CO buildup in homes?

CO buildup is primarily caused by lack of ventilation or improper use of machines/appliances.

  • Cooking on the gas stove or oven (both create CO) use the range hood fan and/or open windows when cooking.
  • Using the gas oven to heat a home: aside from being inefficient, this can also cause CO buildup.
Hole in garage used for ventilation.
Do not cover this hole! It is essential for maintaining a well ventilated garage.
  • Idling cars, dirt bikes, lawnmowers, or anything combustion-powered in closed or open garages.
  • Running generators in closed or open garages (they’re not allowed in housing anyway per section 12.5.8)
  • Covering the air intake vent in garages
  • Malfunctioning or broken HVAC systems can be a source of CO; report any damage or problems to maintenance immediately.