11/5/2018 1:37:42 PM
As Minnesotans turn up the heat to stay warm this fall and winter, it is also important to be alert to the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. About 500 people die each year in the United States from exposure to carbon monoxide (CO), a odorless and colorless gas formed by the incomplete combustion of fuels.
CO is produced whenever a material burns. It can build up to life-threatening concentrations indoors when fuel-burning devices are not properly vented, operated or maintained. This includes furnaces, water heaters, gas or kerosene space heaters, gas boilers, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, charcoal or gas grills, fireplaces and wood stoves, motor vehicles and yard equipment.
CO dangers are most common in the winter months when a heating system malfunctions in a home or a car engine is left running in a garage. CO can also accumulate in an ice house with a gas space heater, stove or portable generator.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce offer some tips to prevent CO poisoning:
For more information on CO poisoning, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website, the Minnesota Commerce Department's Home Energy Guide (page 28) and the Carbon Monoxide Safety Association at www.cosafety.org.
Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the Commerce Department's Energy Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.