Note: Always leave if you suspect a leak. Be aware that some people may not be able to detect the odorant because they have a diminished sense of smell, known as olfactory fatigue, or because the odor is masked by other odors in the area. Certain conditions may cause the odorant to diminish so that it is not detectable.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can cause illness and even death when not properly vented by your furnace or appliances. Carbon monoxide comes from the incomplete combustion of common fuels such as heating oil, gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane and natural gas. When properly operated and maintained, natural gas heating equipment and appliances are safe and efficient. If not properly operated and vented, carbon monoxide could build up in your living space creating a dangerous situation.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested frequently and replaced every 10 years. There are many smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on the market. Regardless of brand, the detector you purchase should meet current UL standards and must be installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Every dwelling should be equipped with at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm, in operating condition, within 15 feet of every sleeping room. This alarm may be battery operated, plug-in with battery back-up or wired into the home's AC power with a secondary battery back-up. Approved alarms bear the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory and comply with the most recent standards of the Underwriters Laboratories or the Canadian Standard Association.
Improper venting may be caused by a number of problems - some of which may not be easily seen - making it important to have your equipment checked and serviced regularly.
If carbon monoxide is present, you may experience carbon monoxide poisoning. While carbon monoxide poisoning is rare, be aware of the following symptoms. If symptoms are suspected, quickly exit the house to fresh air - taking all people and pets with you - and call for help. Do not reenter the home until it has been deemed safe to do so.
Carbon monoxide detectors may be helpful in your home or business. But remember, a carbon monoxide detector should never be substituted for using equipment safely—which includes having your heating and cooking appliances inspected yearly by a trained professional. Find one in your area.