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carbon_monoxide_detector(TNS)—Carbon monoxide poisoning is more of a danger in winter months than it is in summer because cold weather tends to make us stay in a very tight indoor environment.

The odorless, colorless — yet potentially deadly — gas results from the burning of wood, natural gas, oil, and kerosene.

To keep carbon monoxide from building up in your home, don’t use generators, charcoal grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside the house, the basement or the garage, or near windows.

Don’t run cars or trucks inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open. Don’t burn anything in unvented stoves or fireplaces, and don’t use gas ovens to heat a house.

Every house should have at least one carbon monoxide detector/alarm. A detector triggers an alarm based on an accumulation of carbon monoxide over time. Carbon monoxide can harm you if you are exposed to high levels of it in a short time, or to lower levels over a long period. The alarm warns you of any danger before you begin to experience symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, vomiting, and shortness of breath.

If anyone in your house exhibits such symptoms, leave immediately and call 911. Air out the premises and call a professional to check your appliances, chimneys and furnaces. Be sure to buy a detector with a backup battery. Many situations in which carbon monoxide plays a role occur during power outages.

Carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air. It also may be contained in warm air rising from appliances. So conventional wisdom suggests placing a detector on a wall about five feet above the floor, or up on the ceiling. It’s a good idea to have a carbon-monoxide detector on every floor of your house. Never put one close to a fireplace or a gas stove or an oven that produces a flame. Keep the detector 15 feet from furnaces or water heaters; close proximity likely will set off the alarm. Detectors should not replace smoke alarms but, rather, be used in concert with them.

©2016 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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