Guide for Buying a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector: Please follow these safety tips: • DO NOT use an oven or range as a heater. • DO NOT let the car run in an attached garage. • • DO NOT use a gas or kerosene space heater inside a home, garage, cabin or other enclosed space. CO detectors cost about $25-50 and can often be found near the smoke detectors at your local department or hardware store. • Before purchasing, be sure the detector is United Laboratoriesapproved (look for “UL2034” on the package) to ensure quality. • DO NOT sleep in a room with an un-vented gas or kerosene space heater. • DO NOT operate fuel-powered engines (generators, chain saws, etc.) indoors. • DO NOT use a barbecue grill indoors. • DO follow operating and maintenance instructions for fuel-burning appliances and equipment. When using fuel-burning appliances, look for these warning signs: • A gas appliance with a yellow flame (it should burn blue). • Soot build-up on or around your appliances. • Rust stains on vents or chimneys. • Increased condensation on windows. • Lack of hot water. • Furnace running longer and not heating as well. Call a certified repairman immediately if you see any of these warning signs. • If you buy a plug-in detector, make sure that it also has battery back-up so it will work during a power outage. • The digital number display is optional. It will show the level of carbon monoxide in the air in the event of a leak. This is helpful, but not required. If the alarm sounds, you should leave your house, no matter how big or small the number displayed is. • If you receive heating assistance, you may be eligible for a free CO detector. Please contact the agency responsible for your program. PO Box 30195 Lansing, Michigan 48909 (517) 335-8350 1-800-MI-TOXIC www.michigan.gov/mdch-toxic Special thanks to the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services for providing much of this information. Protect Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Home Michigan Department of Community Health PO Box 30195 Lansing, Michigan 48909 (517) 335-8350 1-800-MI-TOXIC What is Carbon Monoxide? Where Does CO Come From? Carbon Monoxide Detectors Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas. You can’t see or smell it; yet it can kill you and others within minutes if you breathe in high levels of the gas. Even at low levels, carbon monoxide still can make you very sick. Small amounts of CO are produced whenever fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene, charcoal or wood are burned. Normally the gases are sent outside through a chimney or venting system. If there is a problem though, the smoke or exhaust can leak inside your house and carbon monoxide could build up to dangerous levels within minutes. While prevention of CO is your first priority, you should also install CO detectors. What Can You Do? Be sure to note how long the sensor located inside the detector is expected to last—the sensor doesn’t last forever and will have to be replaced according to the manufacturer’s directions. Most detectors will last for about seven years. Symptoms of CO Poisoning Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, nausea, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are similar to the flu. However, if you feel better when you leave your home for a while or many of your family members become ill at the same time, it may be carbon monoxide poisoning. People with anemia, heart or lung problems, children and unborn babies are most at risk of carbon monoxide’s deadly effects. You can protect your household by having a trained professional perform a safety inspection on all fuel-burning appliances each fall. Call your utility company or heating contractor for an appointment. This is the most important step you can take! The inspector should check to make sure: • Appliances are installed and operating properly. • All burners are getting enough outside/fresh air for complete combustion. • No appliance is producing a dangerous level of CO. What To Do if You Suspect CO Move yourself, your family and your pets to fresh air quickly. If you don’t, you could pass out within minutes and die. If you feel ill, call 911 from outside your home or go directly to an emergency room. There is a blood test that can quickly check for CO poisoning. The faster you are treated, the better your chances for a quick recovery. Make sure a qualified professional checks your fuel-burning appliances (furnaces, etc) before you return home. • All vents, chimneys and flues are clear and well-connected. Plug-in and battery-powered detectors are designed to sound an alarm when they sense harmful CO levels. Use detectors only as a back-up measure, not as a substitute for common sense and an annual appliance inspection and maintenance. You should test your detector monthly. If your detector is battery-powered, the battery should be replaced twice a year (just like a smoke detector). Install CO detectors on the wall or ceiling outside your bedroom and in the furnace room. While some CO detectors may look like smoke detectors, their purpose is completely different. For a safe home, you should have smoke AND carbon monoxide detectors.