Every day millions of homes and businesses use fossil fuels for heating, hot water, cooking and other important functions. Fuel-burning equipment that’s in good condition and operates properly helps our community’s quality of life. Common fossil fuels include oil, natural gas, propane, kerosene, gasoline, wood and charcoal. But what happens when these fuels are not operating properly or efficiently?
When a fossil fuel doesn’t burn completely the result is carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas.
Low concentrations of CO can produce symptoms similar to the flu, but without the fever, including:
• Shortness of breath
Extreme concentrations of CO can cause unconsciousness or even death. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, each year several hundred people in the United States die from this toxic gas and several thousand people are treated in emergency rooms for CO poisoning. Fresh air and prompt medical attention are essential for anyone suffering from CO poisoning.
Here are some warning signs that a household item may be malfunctioning and producing CO:
• Condensation on walls and windows
• Rusting or water streaking on vent/chimney
• Debris/soot from chimney, fireplace or appliances
• Unfamiliar or burning odors from appliances
• House pets becoming sluggish
All information has been compiled from a booklet produced by ServiceMark and AmeriGas LLP for the safety of the general public and their customers. If you think you may have a Carbon Monoxide problem please call our 800-474-5200 number right away and schedule an appointment to have your heating equipment or fireplace checked as soon as possible. And please remember, a simple and inexpensive annual heating system tune up not only saves on the monthly energy costs but can save a life!