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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Safety

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is odorless and colorless and the symptoms of CO poisoning can be difficult to distinguish from the common cold or flu. If undetected, high levels of CO in the home can lead to severe illness or even death. 

To prevent CO from reaching dangerous levels in your home:

  • Install an approved, operational CO detector within 10 feet of every bedroom or sleeping area. This is now required by Minnesota State Law.
  • Be sure that all combustion (fuel-burning) appliances are installed and working according to manufacturers’ guidelines.  It is especially important that the devices have an adequate air supply and exhaust directly to the outdoors.
  • Have combustion appliances inspected every year.
  • Make sure all flues, chimneys, and exhaust vent pipes are connected properly, in good condition and unobstructed. 
  • Install and use an exhaust fan, vented to the outside, over any gas stove.
  • Open the chimney flue fully when using the fireplace.
  • Make sure the doors on fuel-burning stoves fit properly and are closed tightly.
  • Use the proper fuel in kerosene space heaters.
  • Consider purchasing a vented space heater when replacing unvented ones.
  • Never use your cooking stove to heat your home.
  • Don’t ever burn charcoal inside your home or in any enclosed space.
  • Don’t sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
  • If you have an attached garage, don’t idle your vehicle in it and always back it out right away.
  • If you are using a paint remover containing methylene chloride, follow manufacturer’s instructions and perform work in a well-ventilated area. 
  • Be sure that all members of your household know that if the alarm sounds on a CO detector, they should evacuate the home immediately and call 911 for assistance.