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                                       Carbon Monoxide Warnings


Carbon Monoxide news report


All American Heating is a HVAC Excellence certified carbon monoxide company.  We are capable of maintaining and inspecting your heating system and all of your fuel burning appliances, guaranteeing that you will maintain a safe and clean environment for your family and friends. All American Heating provides safe certified low level carbon monoxide detectors for your home or commercial properties. When your family's safety is a concern call the service professionals at
All American Heating.

Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer

Facts About Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the number 1 cause of poisoning deaths in the United States, with more than 3,800 people known to die annually from CO (accidentally and intentionally). View brochure English | Spanish.

  • Fire causes nearly two-thirds of known fatalities. Auto exhaust and faulty heating equipment cause the remaining one-third.
  • Young children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with heart or respiratory problems are especially vulnerable to CO poisoning.
  • CO inhibits your blood's capacity to carry oxygen.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a lethal poison that is produced when fuels such as gasoline are burned. It can rapidly accumulate even in areas that might appear well ventilated. Because CO is colorless, tasteless, odorless and non-irritating, it can overcome an exposed person without warning. It frequently produces weakness and confusion, depriving the person of the ability to seek safety.

From where does carbon monoxide gas originate? 

  • A furnace that runs constantly or is unable to heat the house
  • Soot, especially on appliances
  • Loose, damaged or discolored chimney
  • Unfamiliar or burning odor
  • Yellow or orange flame in a gas appliance. However, contrary to popular belief, Carbon Monoxide can, and often is, produced from a blue-burning flame.
  • Loose or missing furnace panel and vent  


Recognizing early warning signs of CO poisoning is sometimes difficult because early symptoms of CO exposure (headache, dizziness, nausea) are nonspecific and may be mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses such as colds, flu or food poisoning.

Did you know?

Carbon Monoxide is lighter than air.  CO2 and O2 are products of complete combustion, CO is produced when there is incomplete combustion.  If all 3 gases are spilled into an area the CO2 Carbon Dioxide will drop to the floor and the lighter CO Carbon Monoxide will always rise to the ceiling.

Another way to explain this is to compare it to smoke from a fire.  Visible smoke from a fire is a particulate which is heavier than air, but it rapidly rises to the ceiling because of the heat.  The same applies for CO spilled from an appliance, it will rise to the ceiling and will always be at a higher concentration near the ceiling.

Molecular weight of:

Carbon Monoxide----->28.01 Lighter




Carbon Dioxide------->44.01 Heavier

The severity of symptoms of CO exposure is influenced by three main factors:

  • The concentration of CO in the environment
  • How long the exposure lasts
  • Work load and breathing rate


Carbon Monoxide poisoning causes severe and permanent health problems and death. It is preventable. Take action to reduce the needless cost, pain, suffering and death CO causes.

  • Install a CO alarm that's UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved.
  • Install appliances according to manufacturer's instructions and follow them for safe operation of all fuel-burning appliances.
  • Purchase only appliances that have been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Every year have your heating system, vents, chimney and flue inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician.
  • Whenever possible, choose fuel-burning appliances that can be vented to the outdoors.
  • Examine vents and chimneys for improper connections, visible rust or stains.


While citizens are cognizant of many risks around them on a daily basis, they are generally unfamiliar with Carbon Monoxide, and the threat it poses to their safety. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a silent killer; it is colorless, odorless and tasteless, making it difficult for the public to know when they are at risk. CO is the largest cause of poisoning deaths in the US, with over 3,800 fatalities attributed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning annually. In addition, negative health effects from CO can build up over time, causing permanent damage to the brain, heart and other areas of the body.

Some of the symptoms of CO poisoning include: headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, confusion, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and personality changes. CO symptoms often are mistaken for other illnesses, such as colds, flu or food poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide is around us daily. Any fossil fuel burning device generates CO. Some common sources of CO include; residential furnaces and hot water heaters, a gas range or stove, gas logs, fireplaces, charcoal barbecue grills, kerosene heaters and automobile exhaust.

Quick CO Safety Tips

Risk from CO poisoning can be minimized if the public pays attention to the following basic steps.

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician ever year.
  • Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window.
  • Install a battery-operated CO alarm in your home and change the battery each spring and fall when you change the time on your clocks. If the alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1. 
  • Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed.
  • Don't ever run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.

Examples of CO impact on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Citizens

Case 1: 4 deaths at a local condominium are discovered by the Fire Department on June 24, 1999. A resident apparently returns for the evening, pulls her car in the garage, closes the garage door and fails to turn the quiet running car off. The car runs for an undetermined length of time before activating the sprinkler system in the garage. The resident, and her roommate die of CO. In the adjacent unit, two other people also die of CO. Two doors away, 3 residents display symptoms and are treated for CO poisoning.

Case 2: A close call at a local apartment project, discovered by firefighters on July 9, 1999. A resident goes out of town and asks a neighbor to check on the unit and also periodically run the car in the garage. The neighbor drops by the unit, starts the car, but fails to turn it off. In adjacent units, 6 residents and are evacuated and treated for symptoms of CO poisoning.

Case 3: During a winter power outage, in the absence of utilities, a family uses a portable kerosene heater. An elderly bed ridden man displays flu-like symptoms and his condition continues to deteriorate. The other occupant also begins to feel poorly and calls Medic. Responders measure very high CO levels and identify both residents to be at risk from CO. Both receive several days of hospital treatment for Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Case 4: During a winter snowstorm, a local family suffers a power outage. They solve this by using a gasoline generator, but so as not to disturb the neighbors, move the generator into the garage, and close the garage door. Later, their CO alarm sounds, they call the fire Department. Subsequently, the CO risk and level are identified, the generator is moved outside and the garage ventilated. Here, the presence of a CO alarm clearly identified the risk from CO and allowed the problem to be addressed before occupants were in serious danger.

Case 5: April 17, 2000, Mallard Creek VFD responds to a call for CO alarm activation in a residence. The owner, a female senior citizen, reported a CO reading of 140 on the alarm's LED panel, after which the house was ventilated, but continued to alarm. Subsequent investigation narrowed the problem source to either the automobile in the garage or a gas dryer, as the occupant had used both recently. Detailed investigation at the dryer area yielded escalating CO readings. A disconnected dryer vent was soon discovered and identified as the source of the problem. The occupant reported feeling no ill effects, so early warning from the CO alarm averted a potentially life threatening situation.

Small Gasoline-Powered Engines & Tools

Hundreds of people performing many different tasks have been poisoned because small gasoline-powered engines and tools produced toxic levels of CO – even in relatively open buildings. These poisonings can occur quickly, even in the presence of what many would consider "adequate ventilation."

Fireplace and Exhaust Equipment Operation

It is common practice of many people to close bedroom doors at night.  If the fireplace has been used during the evening, it is not recommended that your bedroom doors be closed for extended periods of time.  The longer the fire is left to smolder, the weaker becomes its ability to have all its combustion gases go up the chimney.  Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is at its highest production during the smoldering stages of a fire.  If your doors are to be closed for extended periods, the smoldering fire should be removed from the fireplace.

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