Clothes dryer: gas
dryers are a potential source of CO when their exhaust hose
becomes disconnected or when someone uses the heated exhaust to
warm a living area. A dryer may shift position during its
function thereby loosening the exhaust hose resulting in venting
of toxic gases into the air.
Charcoal grill: the
smoke from burning charcoal contains high levels of CO. Each
year several people die from exposure to burning charcoal in
enclosed spaces. This happens when someone uses charcoal,
incorrectly, as a space heater or brings the charcoal grill
inside when the barbecue is rained out.
Furnace: an incorrectly
adjusted or vented furnace may spread deadly CO within the
living space. The chimney to which a furnace is vented may
become obstructed by debris which falls into an uncapped
chimney. Furnaces should be serviced regularly.
Pets: miners used to
take canaries with them into mines as poison gas detectors. If
the birds became sick or died while in the mines, the miners
knew that poison gas was present, and escaped unharmed. Thus,
the canary became the first poison gas (CO) detector.
Birds breathe faster than man and have faster metabolic rates
thus show effects earlier than we do. If a pet suddenly becomes
ill or dies, think of the possibility of a toxic exposure and
have the house checked.
Space heaters: space
heaters which burn any fuel (except electric) are potential
sources of CO and should be vented into the outside air. No
unvented space heater should ever be used inside!
Stoves: stoves are
considered exempt equipment, meaning, they do not have to be
vented. This implies that they are not a risk, but they are. The
exhaust from stoves mix with the air in the living space and is
thus diluted. When a stove is used to heat the environment,
excess quantity of CO may leak out and pose a threat. A stove or
a cook top should be used to cook and never to heat the room.
When used, a window should be opened to provide fresh air to
help dilute the potentially toxic gases.
adjusted with a proper flue and a clean chimney, a fireplace is
a thing of beauty. If the chimney is blocked by debris or if the
flue does not produce enough of an updraft to pull toxic CO up
and out, then CO may leech into the living space posing a
serious health risk. Flues and chimneys should be checked every
heating season by a competent professional.
lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and other small gasoline powered
equipment produce CO in use. They should never be used inside.
These devices can be repaired inside, but should be tested by
starting them ONLY outside.
startup of cars in a closed garage to "warm the engine" is a
potential disaster. Each year there are reports of illness and
deaths from such a practice. It is not even good for the car.
The garage door should be opened BEFORE starting the car. The
motor should be off anytime the car is in the garage!
Water heater: every
water heater should be vented into a chimney. There is usually a
space between the bottom of the tube leading to the chimney and
the heater. This exhaust must be properly lined up and the
exhaust pipe and chimney kept clear to insure that all toxic
gases are vented out and do not escape into the air.