Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that comes from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, oil and methane. When these fuels burn incompletely, CO is produced. Home heating and cooking appliances can produce CO if damaged or misused. Vehicles such as cars, trucks, tractors and lawnmowers are also a source of CO. Any motor allowed to run indoors can produce dangerous levels of CO.

City of Maplewood Guidelines

  • CO alarms need to be installed within 10 feet of every room lawfully used for sleeping purposes
  • "Installed" means hardwired, plugged into an outlet, or attached to the wall if battery operated
Carbon Monoxide Prevention

What You Need To Know

  • Carbon Monoxide replaces the oxygen that is in your bloodstream; this can lead to suffocation.
  • Flu-like symptoms are an early indication of mild CO poisoning. More serious exposure can lead to difficulty breathing and eventually death.
  • Those most at risk for poisoning are the very young (4 years or younger) and the very old (75 years and older).
  • Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
  • CO incidents are more common during the colder months.
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Safety Tips for Protecting Yourself & Your Family

  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
  • Replace your CO detector every five years.
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters' Laboratories.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a buildup of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal - red, gray, black, or white - gives off CO.
  • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.


If you feel there is carbon monoxide poisoning, please call the 911. If you have other questions, please call the City of Maplewood's Environmental and Economic Development Department at 651-249-2300.