Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas—one that you can be easily exposed to accidentally. Once CO molecules enter your body, they begin to replace oxygen in your red blood cells, causing tissue damage, headaches, flu-like symptoms or worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 400 Americans lose their lives from CO poisoning every year due to unintentional exposure. Be sure you know the causes and learn how to prevent CO problems.
CO gas can be released naturally or produced by defective appliances. Some common home appliances that omit CO include:
- Water heaters
- Clothes dryers
- Gas stoves
- Wood stoves
- Install battery-operated CO detectors throughout your home that alert you when high levels of CO are detected.
- The CDC recommends replacing the batteries twice a year, as well as changing the detector every five years.
- Make sure any large gas appliances are inspected every year.
- When purchasing a new appliance, always double-check that it has been approved by a national testing agency.