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Learn about carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas produced when fuels don’t burn completely, or are exposed to heat (usually fire).

These fuels include: wood, coal, charcoal, oil, natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, and propane. Because carbon monoxide poses a serious public health risk, health and safety experts recommend installation of a carbon monoxide alarm in homes where there is a fuel-burning source of carbon monoxide (CO).

According to the Health and Safety Executive Organization, several common appliances are often sources of carbon monoxide, including oil or gas burning furnaces, gas ovens, wood-burning fireplaces, and charcoal grills. Carbon monoxide levels can rise quickly if any of these appliances are not properly maintained, are improperly ventilated or malfunction. Additional sources of carbon monoxide include space and water heating, cooking, uncontrolled burning, tobacco smoking, internal combustion engine.

Proper airflow through the home helps to lower levels of carbon monoxide. “Air-tight” homes with added insulation, sealed windows, and other weatherproofing can “trap” carbon monoxide inside. Electrical appliances typically do not produce carbon monoxide.

Both Northern Ireland and Scotland also require the installation of at least one CO alarm when a new or replacement boiler or other heating appliance is to be installed in a home. More information on the Northern Ireland Executive website and the Scottish Government website.

To learn more about carbon monoxide, visit the Health and Safety Executive Organization website.

Source: Health and Safety Executive Organization

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