Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

(KTSF by Jessie Liang)

San Francisco, CA – Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas. As of July 2011, all California single-family homes are required by law to have  a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide poisoning usually happens more often during the winter months because of using the fireplace to stay warm.

The spokeswoman for PG&E Fiona Chan said, “When you burn fossil fuels and wood, if the byproducts of combustion couldn’t vent safely through the chimney, the result could be fatal.”

The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are more like the flu and hard to detect. The light symptoms include headaches, drowsiness, nausea while severe illness can cause death. The experts remind people if they’re using the fireplace to stay warm, make sure the flue is open. Never use generators, charcoal or barbecue grills inside the home. Make sure all natural gas furnaces and appliances inside the home are working properly. “A blue flame indicates complete combustion and the appliance is working properly. A lazy, yellow or white flame is a warning sign that the appliance is not burning properly and could be producing carbon monoxide,” said Chan.

The other potential carbon monoxide poisoning is idling cars inside the garage without door open. “When you start the engine of the vehicle, make sure your garage door is open so that tail pipe emissions wouldn’t be blocked indoors and make you sick,” said Chan.

To ensure your natural gas appliances are working properly, customers can contact your natural gas provider to do an inspection once a year.

(Copyright 2011 KTSF.  All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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