WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CO
WHAT IS CO?
CO is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas produced when fossil fuels
do not burn completely, or are exposed to heat (usually fire). Electrical
appliances typically do not produce CO.
These fuels include: Wood, coal, charcoal, oil, natural gas, gasoline,
kerosene, and propane.
Common appliances are often sources of CO. If they are not properly
maintained, are improperly ventilated, or malfunction, CO levels can rise
quickly. CO is a real danger now that homes are more energy efficient.
“Air-tight” homes with added insulation, sealed windows, and other
weatherproofing can “trap” CO inside.
SYMPTOMS OF CO POISONING
These symptoms are related to CO POISONING and should be
discussed with ALL household members.
Slight headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue (“flu-like” symptoms).
Throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate.
Convulsions, unconsciousness, heart and lung failure. Exposure to
carbon monoxide can cause brain damage, death.
Some individuals are more sensitive to CO than others, including
people with cardiac or respiratory
problems, infants, unborn
babies, pregnant mothers, or elderly people can be more quickly
and severely affected by CO. Members of sensitive populations
should consult their doctors for advice on taking additional
FINDING THE SOURCE OF CO AFTER AN ALARM
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas, which often makes it
difficult to locate the source of CO after an alarm. These are a few of
the factors that can make it difficult to locate sources of CO:
• House well ventilated before the investigator arrives.
• Problem caused by “backdrafting.”
• Transient CO problem caused by special circumstances.
Because CO may dissipate by the time an investigator arrives, it may be
difficult to locate the source of CO. BRK Brands, Inc. shall not be obli-
gated to pay for any carbon monoxide investigation or service call.
POTENTIAL SOURCES OF CO IN THE HOME
Fuel-burning appliances like: portable heater, gas or wood burning
fireplace, gas kitchen range or cooktop, gas clothes dryer.
Damaged or insufficient venting: corroded or disconnected water
heater vent pipe, leaking chimney pipe or flue, or cracked heat
r, blocked or clogged chimney opening.
Improper use of appliance/device: operating a barbecue grill or
vehicle in an enclosed area (like a garage or screened porch).
Transient CO Problems: “transient” or on-again-off-again CO problems
can be caused by outdoor conditions and other special circumstances.
The following conditions can result in transient CO situations:
1. Excessive spillage or reverse venting of fuel appliances caused by
outdoor conditions such as:
• Wind direction and/or velocity, including high, gusty winds. Heavy
air in the vent pipes (cold/humid air with extended periods
• Negative pressure differential resulting from the use of exhaust
• Several appliances running at the same time competing for limited
• Vent pipe connections vibrating loose from clothes dryers,
furnaces, or water heaters.
• Obstructions in or unconventional vent pipe designs which can
amplify the above situations.
2. Extended operation of unvented fuel burning devices (range, oven,
3. Temperature inversions, which can trap exhaust close to the ground.
4. Car idling in an open or closed attached garage, or
near a home.
These conditions are dangerous because they can trap exhaust in your
home. Since these conditions can come and go, they are also hard to
recreate during a CO investigation.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY FAMILY?
A CO Alarm is an excellent means of protection. It monitors the air and
sounds a loud alarm before carbon monoxide levels become threaten-
ing for average, healthy adults.
A CO Alarm is not a substitute for proper maintenance of home
To help prevent CO problems and reduce the risk of CO poisoning:
• Clean chimneys and flues yearly. Keep them free of debris, leaves,
and nests for proper air flow. Also, have a professional check for
rust and corrosion, cracks, or separations. These conditions can
prevent proper air movement and cause backdrafting. Never “cap”
or cover a chimney in any way that would block air flow.
• Test and maintain all fuel-burning equipment annually. Many
local gas or oil companies and HVAC companies offer appliance
inspections for a nominal fee.
• Make regular visual inspections of all fuel-burning appliances.
Check appliances for excessive rust and scaling. Also check the
flame on the burner and pilot lights. The flame should be blue.
A yellow flame means fuel is not being burned completely and CO
may be present. Keep the blower
door on the furnace closed. Use
vents or fans when they are available on all fuel-burning appliances.
Make sure appliances are vented to the outside. Do not grill or
barbecue indoors, or in garages or on screen porches.
• Check for exhaust backflow from CO sources. Check the draft
hood on an operating furnace for a backdraft. Look for cracks on
furnace heat exchangers.
• Check the house or garage on the other side of shared wall.
• Keep windows and doors open slightly. If you suspect that CO is
escaping into your home, open a window or a door. Opening
windows and doors can significantly decrease CO levels.
In addition, familiarize yourself with all enclosed materials. Read
this manual in its entirety, and make sure you understand what to
do if your CO Alarm sounds.