Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Whether you heat your home with oil, natural gas, coal or wood, your heating system can produce carbon monoxide (CO) if it is not working properly or inadequately vented.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that is very toxic. Signs of carbon monoxide in your home include stuffy, stale air, very high humidity or soot coming from a fireplace or heating system.
What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often confused with those of the flu. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, unclear thinking, shortness of breath, weakness, vision problems and loss of muscle control. Please keep in mind the highest occurrences of carbon monoxide poisoning occur during the heating months - when the flu is also normally commonplace.
High concentrations of carbon monoxide can lead to unconsciousness, brain damage and death. However, a victim may not experience any of these symptoms, or only one or a few symptoms. You should suspect carbon monoxide if symptoms tend to disappear when you leave your home.
What should you do if you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide in your home?
If you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide:
- Open all windows and doors.
- Call NSTAR Gas at 800-592-2000 for an immediate emergency inspection.
- If carbon monoxide is detected, seek immediate medical attention.
How can you reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?
To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, have your heating equipment "tuned up" each year, preferably before the heating season begins. NSTAR Gas has highly trained professionals who can provide this service and also check your chimney and vent pipes for blockage.
It is also a good idea to make sure your home is adequately ventilated, and that the vents on the outside of your home are completely unobstructed and able to properly ventilate. This is particularly important if you have added insulation to your home, had major renovations done or have enclosed your heating system to increase living space.