Carbon Monoxide Safety
To help keep your gas appliances operating safely and efficiently, have Mobile Gas or a licensed, qualified professional check your gas pipeline every year. Not performing annual maintenance may result in insufficient appliance operation, and in some cases, dangerous exposure to carbon monoxide. Follow the manufacturer’s operations and maintenance instructions to ensure efficient operations.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is 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. In the case of home gas appliances, this can be caused by improper installation, poor maintenance, or appliance misuse or failure. When incomplete combustion occurs in your home’s gas appliances, carbon monoxide is produced, and this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning of you and your family. The early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning produce unexplained flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion. Since carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in the blood, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to the death.
Signs that may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide, include:
- A yellow, large and unsteady gas appliance burner flame (with the exception of decorative gas log appliances).
- An unusual pungent odor when the appliance is operating. This may indicate the creation of aldehydes, a by-product of incomplete combustion.
- Unexplained nausea, drowsiness and flu-like symptoms.
What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home:
- If safe to do so, immediately turn off the suspected gas appliance.
- Evacuate the premises and call 911.
- Seek medical attention if anyone in the home experiences carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.
- Contact Mobile Gas at 251-476-2738 or a licensed, qualified professional immediately to have the appliance inspected.
- Do not use the suspected gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced, and determined to be safe by Mobile Gas or a licensed, qualified professional.
Carbon monoxide home alarms may provide an extra level of safety, but they also require routine maintenance and replacement at least every three to five years to perform properly. Even with alarms in place, regular gas appliance maintenance is still required. Inspection and routine maintenance are still the best defense against accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.