Orange and Rockland Utilities issues warnings on potential dangers of carbon monoxide and the use of make-shift heating system during the cold snap.
PEARL RIVER, NY Jan. 2, 2014 — As sub-zero wind chills approach, O&R reminds its customers that carbon monoxide poisoning can result from using malfunctioning, improperly vented or makeshift heating units.
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 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 as dangerous level.
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:
• Stale, stuffy air and high indoors humidity
• Fallen soot from a fireplace chimney or furnace flue
• No draft in the chimney or flue
To do your part to reduce carbon monoxide poisoning:
• Never use an unvented open-flame or charcoal grill to heat indoors.
• Never use a gas oven or range to heat indoors.
• 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 close to air intakes to the building.
If you smell gas, call O&R’s 24/7 gas emergency hotline at 1-800-533-5325.