Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.

As of January 1, 2007, homeowners, landlords, and building owners are required to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors within 15 feet of rooms used for sleeping. This law applies only to those occupancies that use fossil fuel to cook, heat, or produce hot water, or occupancies that are connected to an enclosed garage.

The carbon monoxide detector may be battery operated, plug-in with battery back-up, or wired into the home’s AC power with a secondary battery back-up. It must also bear the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory and must comply with the most recent standards of the Underwriters Laboratories or the Canadian Standard Association.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.

 

For more information about the Illinois law, please see Public Act 094-0741 .

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