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Carbon Monoxide
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What is Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (henceforth CO... its shortcut chemical symbol) is a colorless, odorless gas. It is produced as a byproduct of the combustion of carbon-based or fossil fuels... natural gas, gasoline, coal, and fuel oils. The amount of carbon monoxide formed is related to both the speed of the combustion and the completeness of the combustion. Automobiles, for example, create huge amounts of CO due to the internal combustion engine's fast, inefficient burning of gasoline. Burning the same fuel in the open air forms very small amounts.

CO is also a fuel in and of itself... in fact up to half of the natural gas used as fuel to feed your stove, furnace or hot water heater may be carbon monoxide! Even years ago, the danger of CO was well known, and nasty smelling sulfur compounds were added to fuel gas to provide its consistent, familiar and unmistakable odor!

You may say... "Wait a minute... I can smell the fumes from my car and the odor from my furnace! So carbon monoxide can't sneak up on me!!" WRONG. You are smelling other combustion byproducts, not CO. Tie that to the fact that carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air, so it will slowly but surely rise through your house from the basement furnace, the living room coal stove, or the unvented space heater. And perhaps leave the heavier, more recognizable odors behind!