12 Signs There Is Carbon Monoxide in Your House

Medically Reviewed on 1/22/2021
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, odorless, and colorless gas.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, odorless, and colorless gas.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, odorless, and colorless gas. The potential sources of carbon monoxide in the house may be poorly functioning heating systems, water heaters, fuel-burning devices with no vents (for example, kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, camping stoves, gasoline-powered electrical generators), and motor vehicles. The open-air exposure to motorboat exhaust can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The underground electrical cable fires produce large amounts of carbon monoxide gas that may seep into nearby houses. Carbon monoxide poisoning may happen due to smoking hookah.

The following 12 signs may help you to detect a carbon monoxide leakage or buildup in your home. They are:

  • You see black, sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires.
  • There is heavy condensation built up at the windowpane where the appliance is installed.
  • Sooty or yellow/brown stains on or around boilers, stoves, or fires.
  • Smoke building up in rooms.
  • Yellow flames coming out from gas appliances except at natural gas fireplaces.
  • The pilot lights blow out frequently.
  • Solid fuel fires burn a lot slower than usual.
  • People in your home have these symptoms:
  • Symptoms disappear once you are away from your home.
  • You get seasonal symptoms, such as headaches during the winter when the central heating is used more frequently.
  • Pets become ill.
  • Symptoms appear or seem to get worse when using fuel-burning equipment.

How to prevent carbon monoxide leaks in your house?

It is essential to detect any carbon monoxide leak in your house to prevent any hazards. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, killing approximately 400 Americans every year. Hence, it is imperative to check and prevent any leaks to avoid any mishaps. Some ways to prevent carbon monoxide leak in your home include:

  • Fit a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector alarms near your bedroom to detect any CO leak.
  • Service your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances every year by a qualified technician.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • If there is a leak from the refrigerator, seek the help of an expert technician. The leak may be due to carbon monoxide.
  • Buy gas equipment, which carries the seal of a national testing agency.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are inspected for proper ventilation.
  • Check or clean your chimney every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris, which can cause CO buildup inside your home or cabin.
  • Never use tape, gum, or something else to seal the vent pipe. This kind of temporary seal can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a gas range, cloth dryer, or oven for heating the room because it may lead to the buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal gives off CO.
  • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use gasoline-powered engines inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
  • Avoid smoking inside your home.


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Medically Reviewed on 1/22/2021
NHS. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/carbon-monoxide-poisoning/