Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

  • Transcript

    TOM: Well, you can’t see it or smell it but, according to the EPA, hundreds of people die accidentally every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly-used fuel-burning appliances. Here with some tips to keep us safe is our friend, Kevin O’Connor, from This Old House.

    Kevin, welcome to the program.
    KEVIN: Thank you, Tom. It’s good to be here.
    TOM: So where do we start?
    KEVIN: Well, that’s why it’s pretty scary stuff; because you can’t see it and because you can’t smell it. Carbon monoxide, it’s an odorless gas and it results from the combustion of fuel; like natural gas, oil and kerosene. And it can make you sick or even cause death. So there are a couple things you want to think about.
    First, make sure that you have your heating system tuned up every year; including a combustion analysis. And also, some other things: never run a car, never use a barbecue, run a generator or even a lawnmower in an open garage because the fumes could fill your house.
    TOM: And good point. And even if everything is operating properly, it’s always a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector.
    KEVIN: It’s true and where you put them is important as well. You should place them outside of every bedroom, if possible, and there are also different styles to think about. You can get them hardwired or battery-powered. If you want more information on CO detectors, we’ve got a video on
    TOM: Good point. And if you can only afford one detector, good idea to put it near the bedroom because that’s where most of the deaths occur; when people are sleeping at night.
    KEVIN: Good advice.
    TOM: Kevin O’Connor, thanks for stopping by the program. Great tip.
    KEVIN: Great to be here.
    LESLIE: And you know, guys, if you have a detector and it does go off, I think it’s really important to always remind people that you have to get out of the house immediately.
    TOM: Absolutely.
    LESLIE: Because I remember a story a couple of years ago, here in the northeast. A homeowner thought his carbon monoxide detector was faulty. He ignored it and in the end, he died.
    TOM: Yep.
    LESLIE: So it’s not something you can smell. If your alarm goes off, get out of there and call somebody who can come and check it out.
    TOM: Yeah, a lot of people confuse carbon monoxide detectors with the way smoke detectors work. But remember, when smoke detectors work, you almost always see the smoke or certainly smell it; with carbon monoxide, not so much. So you definitely need to take heed when the alarm goes off and get out of the house.
    Well, for more great ideas on fixing up your home, be sure to watch Kevin on This Old House, which is brought to you buy their proud sponsor, GMC. GMC – we are professional grade.

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