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More Carbon Monoxide or CO is being emitted via humans through the burning of natural gas, oil and coal. Carbon monoxide in the home can be extremely dangerous and it is wise to test for overexposure in the home. It’s an odorless, tasteless, non-combustible and colorless gas, so beware. Although important to life, it can be a killer too. Carbon monoxide levels rise when there are a lot of people spending a lot of time at home. It’s a gas that’s heavier than air so tends to settle in basements or enclosed window areas. Different sources that CO may be used for are:-

  • Clothes dryers
  • Stoves
  • Gas burners
  • Space heaters

If your home is close to a factory or warehouse that use fossil fuels, carbon dioxide could also enter your home unknowingly to you.

Symptoms caused by CO

If you’re feeling any of the following symptoms, make sure to do a home test or seek medical advice quickly. -

  • An increased pulse rate
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue 
  • Breathing difficulties
  •  Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Dizziness

Watch out for family members who get sick at the same time or if symptoms appear when a fuel burning device has been switched on. Your pet could even show symptoms of carbon dioxide poisoning. Some of these symptoms may only be felt when carbon dioxide levels are very high. Make sure your home is well ventilated. This will reduce the CO levels considerably. If you have gas burning appliances like a gas fire, have it regularly checked and serviced. There are also carbon dioxide detectors you can buy to carry out tests yourself. It’s definitely worth doing this from time to time to keep your family and yourself safe.

Keep an eye open for signs of CO It’s highly recommended to keep water heaters, ovens and fires well maintained and well ventilated. If you see any of the following signs, do something about it and quickly:-

  • No upward draft in your chimneys 
  • Soot appearing round fuel burning appliances
  • A lot of moisture on walls, cold surfaces and windows 
  • Rust on pipes 
  • Yellow or orange flame on your appliances, this should be blue in color 
  • Soot in your fireplace

The CO Test at Home:-

Should you smell a smoky odor, see water leaking from a chimney vent or pipe, discolored bricks on your outdoor chimney or rust on the vent pipe, this could mean CO is escaping. Remember, it’s advisable never to use a portable gas generator or barbecue indoors, extremely dangerous. It’s worth reading more about the problems of carbon dioxide in the home so you won’t have any worries. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It could be fatal.

Those at risk

Some people, more than others, are more at risk of CO poisoning, so take extra care if you have:-

a) Any respiratory problems like emphysema or asthma

b) Anemia

c) Cardiovascular diseases

Elderly people, children and babies are also more at risk or those who do a lot of physical activity.


If gas doesn't burn correctly, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas and is extremely poisonous and toxic. The body can't recognize its presence and it could kill you before you realize it is around and because of this it is called 'the silent killer'. If you have a gas appliance in your home that is not properly maintained or is faulty, you and your family may be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Read the following resources on carbon monoxide poisoning and how you can keep you loved ones and home safe.

Carbon Monoxide Indoors: www.lung.org

Carbon Monoxide in the Workplace: www.cwa-union.org

Safe Home heating: www.csia.org

Home testing for CO: www.hometests.com