Carbon monoxide safety

When you use any fuel-burning appliance without enough oxygen, such as a natural gas furnace, it can create carbon monoxide (CO)—a toxic, colorless, tasteless and odorless gas.

If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure, call 911 immediately.

How to know

Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea

Be aware

Carbon monoxide detectors (CO alarms) can alert you when the amount of CO in your home is approaching dangerous levels. Install them by bedroom entrances, in common areas and near areas containing fuel-burning appliances. If your home has multiple floors, install at least one per level.

When installing CO alarms within your home, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding placement. Alarms must be positioned properly or they may be unable to adequately protect you from exposure.

Check your CO alarms regularly to be sure they are in working order.

Prevention tips

To limit your exposure to carbon monoxide:

  • Make sure that natural gas appliances are maintained and operated according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Never operate a gas grill or generator indoors.
  • Don't open the door of a gas oven to heat your home.

Carbon monoxide versus natural gas

Both carbon monoxide and natural gas are naturally odorless and potentially harmful. But unlike carbon monoxide, natural gas is injected with a "rotten egg" odor to help you detect leaks or exposure.

To learn more about natural gas leaks, visit our Detect a Leak section.

We can help

If you think a fuel-burning appliance is not operating safely or you're having problems with a pilot light, call PSE at 1-888-225-5773 and schedule a service technician to perform an on-site investigation for free. Depending on the diagnosis, our technician can perform minor repairs on site for a fee.

More information

To learn more about carbon monoxide safety, visit these resources: