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Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Offers Simple Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Nov 23, 2016

Westborough, MA – With colder temperatures settling into the region, and heating systems running more frequently, increases in carbon monoxide incidents occur. 

Whether you heat your home with natural gas, oil, coal or wood, your heating system can produce toxic carbon monoxide if it is not working properly or not adequately vented. 

Columbia Gas reminds customers to learn the symptoms and preventative actions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning this winter, like installing a carbon monoxide detector.  

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.   

Symptoms 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often confused with the flu.  Such as: fatigue, headaches, dizziness, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, unclear thinking, shortness of breath, weakness, vision problems, loss of coordination, and unconsciousness.  A victim of carbon monoxide poisoning may not experience all of these symptoms - only one or a few. 

Other household symptoms include foul-smelling or stale air, the smell of exhaust fumes, a yellow/orange flame on gas ranges, furnace or water heater burners, soot around the outside of the chimney, furnace or water heater flue vent or fireplace, and large areas of condensation of water vapor on walls or windows.

What to Do 

If you suspect carbon monoxide or a natural gas leak, leave the home immediately, and from a safe location call 911 and Columbia Gas at 1-800-525-8222

Preventative measures and safety tips 

DO:

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Be sure all fuel-burning equipment (coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas, kerosene and fuel oil) is installed and vented properly.
  • Have your heating system checked by your fuel supplier or licensed heating contractor, and also have your chimney and vent pipes checked for blockage.
  • Have appliances installed by a professional. 
  • Maintain all equipment per manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Provide adequate ventilation in the house when using stoves, fireplaces or unvented space heaters.
  • Open the garage doors before starting a vehicle. 

DON’T:

  • Never burn charcoal or use a gas grill indoors or in an enclosed space.
  • Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Don’t repair a snow blower or vehicle indoors without proper ventilation.
  • Don’t warm up the car without opening the garage doors.