At Ongaro & Sons, your safety is our first priority. We want to be your resource for home safety information.

Carbon Monoxide: The “Senseless” Killer

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a potentially fatal illness that is caused by the inhalation of carbon monoxide gas. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a tasteless, colorless and odorless gas that is produced by the incomplete burning of any fuel that contains carbon including natural gas, LP gas, wood, coal and gasoline. Once it’s inhaled, CO gas reduces your blood’s ability to carry sufficient oxygen to the body. Without enough oxygen, individual body cells eventually suffocate and die, especially in vital organs such as the brain and heart.

Because CO poisoning is related to the burning of carbon fuels, there is a chance that it can happen whenever you operate any one of a long list of common items including: grills, furnaces, space heaters, stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, and automobiles. The risk of CO poisoning is especially high whenever fuel-burning equipment is operating in an enclosed place (like your home) and whenever ventilation is poor.

Currently, CO poisoning is the most common form of poisoning in the United States, where it is responsible for at least 40,000 emergency room visits annually. Carbon monoxide is also the most common cause of accidental poison-related deaths, claiming the lives of 1,000 to 2,000 Americans each year.

Without immediate treatment, you may lose consciousness, experience convulsions, slip into a coma and die. Death can result from only a few minutes of exposure to less than 1% CO gas, or from one hour of exposure to less than 1/3% CO gas!

According to one ongoing study, 49% of all cases of accidental CO poisoning can be attributed to faulty furnaces. At Ongaro & Sons, we don’t want our customers to become one of those 49%, so we take special care to ensure that your furnace will operate safely. We do this through annual maintenance inspections.


Because CO gas has no color, odor or taste, the gas can kill without warning. To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, here are few suggestions:

  1. Install CO detectors
  2. Open flue when using fireplace
  3. Never use grills or hibachis indoors
  4. Buy appliances that vent outside
  5. Have fuel-burning appliances professionally installed, maintained and professionally inspected yearly
  6. Never try to heat your home by using an oven, stovetop or clothes dryer
  7. Never operate gas-powered tools or engines inside buildings
  8. Never leave cars running inside attached garages