Furnace Tune Up Helps Prevent Carbon Monoxide Danger

As the heating season warms up, O&R warns its customers to make sure a qualified plumber or heating contractor performs appropriate maintenance on customers’ home heating systems to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is invisible, odorless and tasteless. It is formed by the incomplete burning of fuels such as heating oil, wood, gasoline, natural gas, propane and charcoal.


When heating units or motors are not working correctly, or if exhaust fumes and chimneys are not properly vented outdoors, carbon monoxide can accumulate in the home, building or garage.


Breathing even small amounts of carbon monoxide can result in headaches, dizziness and nausea. Prolonged exposure can result in more severe illness, or even death. If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately open the windows in your home and seek medical attention.


The signs of a CO problem are stale, stuffy air and high indoors humidity, fallen soot from a fireplace chimney or furnace flue and no draft in the chimney or flue.


To do your part to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:


  • Never use a gas oven or range to heat a room. 
  • Never leave a vehicle or gasoline-powered equipment running in a garage, even with the garage door open. 
  • Never operate a portable electric generator outdoors near air intakes to a building. 

The dangers of CO poisoning can be further reduced by the installation of approved CO detectors, which can provide an early warning of accumulated CO risk before it reaches a dangerous level.


O&R urges its customers to always put safety first. Anyone who smells natural gas should leave the area immediately and call O&R’s emergency gas hotline at 1-800-533-LEAK (5325) or 911.