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O&R: Heating With Stove Creates Carbon Monoxide Danger

Because of the frigid weather this week, O&R is renewing its warning to customers not to use natural-gas powered kitchen ovens or ranges to heat their homes because using these cooking appliances for heating creates a significant risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Further, O&R warns against using charcoal grills indoors for heating or cooking because of the CO risk that also creates. The same warning applies to fireplaces that are not properly ventilated.

Carbon monoxide 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.

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.

Natural gas-powered appliances in the typical home can range from: heating units, clothes dryers, water heaters, stoves and even emergency generators.

When heating units or motors are not working properly, or if exhaust fumes and chimneys are not properly vented outdoors, carbon monoxide can accumulate in the home, building or garage. The dangers of CO can be reduced by the installation of approved CO detectors, which can provide early warning of accumulated CO before it reaches a dangerous level.

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.

One key way to prevent a carbon monoxide problem is to make sure that a plumber or qualified heating contractor services your furnace each year.

To further do your part to reduce carbon monoxide poisoning never leave a vehicle or gasoline-powered equipment running in a garage, even with the garage door open and operate a portable electric generator outdoors away from air intakes to the building.

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.