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Extension > Environment > Housing Technology > Indoor environmental quality > Carbon monoxide

Indoor environmental quality

Carbon monoxide

Written by University of Minnesota Extension faculty

Reviewed by Richard Stone; Extension educator, housing technology, 2010

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be smelled or tasted. It is a byproduct of burning fuels, such as gas, petroleum, wood, coal, or charcoal.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

If people in your family experience any of these symptoms while at home, feel better when away from home, and then the same symptoms return when you are back at home, it could be carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide gas can kill you in your home or other enclosed spaces like a garage or shed.

Your heating system should exhaust all of this gas out of the home but if the furnace, water heater, or chimney is not functioning correctly the combustion gases can come into the house. Kitchen stoves can also produce carbon monoxide. A kitchen fan to exhaust gas fumes to the outside should always be working when using the kitchen stove.

Safety precautions to take in your home

Because the air quality in each home is so different, homeowners are encouraged to consult with someone experienced in conducting indoor air quality investigations. If remediation and repairs are recommended, an expert can also monitor the work to assure that problems have been properly corrected.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website or call them at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050.

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