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Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-corrosive gas made up of one part carbon and one part oxygen (CO). It can be a by-product of the combustion of ordinary fuels. It is relatively harmless

in open spaces, but very poisonous if it accumulates. A malfunctioning appliance can create this hazard. Carbon monoxide can also result as a byproduct of the incomplete burning of natural gas or other fossil fuels.

Be Alert to the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

When combustion takes place without sufficient oxygen, carbon monoxide is produced. It's important to be alert to

the dangers of improper venting.

 Carbon Monoxide Isn't in Natural Gas  What Causes Carbon Monoxide?

 Carbon monoxide can be produced if natural gas doesn't burn and vent properly. It also is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned.

This can happen if your gas appliance or fuel-burning device isn't properly maintained or adjusted. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount

of CO produced is usually not hazardous. Other CO sources include vehicle exhaust, blocked chimney flumes, improper use

of fuel-burning cooking appliances,

and charcoal grills used in the tent, home, camper, garage, or other unventilated area.

 Carbon monoxide can be formed when carbon-based fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal, or wood are burned with inadequate amounts of oxygen, creating a condition known as incomplete combustion. Although accidental carbon monoxide poisoning from natural gas appliances is statistically rare, the existence of carbon monoxide in the home can be caused by improper installation, poor maintenance, or other appliance misuse

or failure. 


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Signs of Carbon Monoxide Presence


Symptoms of CO Poisoning:

  • A yellow, large and unsteady burner flame (except for decorative gas logs)

  • An unusual pungent odor when the appliance is operating

  • Unexplained nausea, drowsiness, and      flu-like symptoms

If you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide:

• Stop using the suspected gas appliance immediately.

• Seek emergency medical attention 

if anyone in the home experiences carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.

• Do not use the appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined.


  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Headache

  • Drowsiness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Ringing sensation in the ears

  • Nausea

  • Blurred vision

  • Mental confusion

  • Chest pains

    • Light-headedness or dizziness


stuffy, foul-smelling, or stale air; the smell of exhaust fumes; a yellow or 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.


 Carbon monoxide may cause any or all of the following symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, irregular breathing, rapid heartbeat, ringing in the ears, seeing spots, fatigue, confusion, memory loss, loss of coordination, blurred vision, feeling ill or tired

at home but fine when away from home,

loss of consciousness, coma and eventually seizures, cardiac arrest and respiratory failure.

What to Do to Prevent Carbon Monoxide in Your Home Preventive Measures and Safety Tips

Have your gas furnace and water-heating equipment serviced regularly to ensure they

are working properly, efficiently, and safely.

This includes proper venting of exhaust gases. In a tightly sealed home, you may need to install fresh air inlets and exhaust fans

to supply the circulation needed for combustion. Carbon monoxide detectors are just as important as smoke detectors, and are widely available.

Follow these simple guidelines if you think you may have a carbon monoxide problem in your home: 

If your detector alarm sounds and you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, leave your home and immediately

call your local emergency services number, York County Natural Gas at 866.201.1001,

or call 911.

If you have no symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and your detector alarm sounds,

first check the detector. Push the reset button 

(if available); turn off any appliances or other sources of combustion. Get fresh air to the building and check for sources of carbon monoxide. Adjust, repair, or replace your appliances as needed by calling a qualified service or repair company.

If you think you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and you do not have a detector, leave your home and immediately

call your local emergency services number,

York County Natural Gas at 866.201.1001,

or call 911.


  • Purchase carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Be sure all fuel-burning equipment is installed, adjusted and operating properly.

  • Have appliances installed by a professional, and carefully follow manufacturer instructions.

  • Do not cut off or restrict combustion air sources to appliances.

  • Equipment should be inspected regularly by a professional heating or appliance contractor.

  • Provide adequate ventilation in the house when using stoves, fireplaces, or unvented space heaters.

  • Never burn charcoal indoors or in an enclosed space.

  • Clean the chimney and check for blockage, especially with wood burning fireplaces and stoves.

  • Open the garage door before starting your vehicle.

  • Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector.

  • Make sure all gas appliances are installed correctly and checked annually.

  • Have chimneys cleaned and checked every year for obstructions.

  • Don’t use outdoor appliances or equipment indoors for space heating or cooking.






Suspect a Leak?

If you do, leave the premises immediately and call the dedicated emergency line from a cell phone or a neighbor's phone:


or call 911 

Quick Guide: Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

What You See

  Abnormally high pilot flame

  Vapor cloud/mist

  Dirt/debris blown in air

  Collection of dead insects

  Abnormal dead/dying vegetation

What You Smell
  Rotten egg-like odor
What You Hear
  Unusual hissing/roaring

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