Carbon Monoxide safety tips from Columbia Gas

Staff report -

COLUMBUS – September was National Preparedness Month, and with cooler fall temperatures on the way, Columbia Gas wants to remind Ohioans of important precautions for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, natural gas, kerosene or oil) burn incompletely. It’s tasteless and odorless, but can become deadly if too much accumulates without proper venting.

The most reliable way to know whether you have a carbon monoxide leak is to have fully functioning carbon monoxide detectors at home, especially in areas where someone sleeps. A good rule of thumb is to test the detectors once per month and replace the batteries every six months.

“Carbon monoxide can also accumulate if fuel-burning appliances malfunction,” said Lisa Carmean, Vice President and General Manager of Operations for Columbia Gas of Ohio. “National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to have a qualified professional inspect these appliances in every part of your home to ensure they are installed and operating properly. This inspection can extend the lifespan and efficiency of appliances, but more importantly, it’s a critical step that can save lives.”

Those who are affected by carbon monoxide poisoning while awake often complain of a headache and other flu-like symptoms. They may also feel tired at home but fine while out. Carbon monoxide is generally deadliest during sleep when symptoms may not be recognized.

If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, or if residents suspect either a carbon monoxide or gas leak, they should STOP what they are doing, LEAVE the area immediately and from a safe place CALL 911 and Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077. First responders and Columbia Gas will investigate the situation, identify the source of the leak and make it safe.

“Even if you don’t have a detector but feel you may have symptoms, it’s important to err on the side of caution and call right away,” Carmean added. “Potential cases of carbon monoxide poisoning should never be ignored.”

For more on how carbon monoxide can accumulate in different parts of the home, as well as information on appliances and other home safety measures, visit

Additional carbon monoxide prevention tips:

  • Buy and install carbon monoxide detectors; some models double as smoke detectors. The devices range in price from $20-$70 and are available at most big box retailers.
  • Ensure there is a carbon monoxide detector on every level of the property and in every room where someone sleeps
  • Provide adequate ventilation in your home when using stoves, fireplaces or unvented space heaters
  • Never use a stove or oven as a source of heat
  • Ensure appliances are installed in accordance with local building codes and manufacturer’s instructions and specifications
  • Don’t burn charcoal or run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space
  • Clean the chimney and check for blockage at least once a year before using the fireplace
  • Open the garage door before starting a vehicle

Staff report