If you have a fuel burning heat source, stove, hot water heater, dryer or any other appliance or an attached garage on your home, carbon monoxide is a very real and serious risk to your health. CO is a risk whenever you burn something, including wood and charcoal. It is odorless, tasteless and invisible to the eye. The only way to detect it is with a proper carbon monoxide detector.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide is not always deadly but it is always harmful. If your exposure is to only low levels, you may have some side effects that mimic the flu or you may experience frequent headaches and dizziness. Low level exposure may not kill you, but it can cause long-term health issues. High levels are often fatal, especially if they occur when you are asleep.
The best protection against poisoning from CO is a properly installed detector. Make sure to check it at least two times a year. Checking when you change the clocks for daylight savings time is a good way to make sure you remember. You also want to keep your gas burning appliances in good condition and keep up with regular maintenance. Check the exhaust for your furnace to ensure there is not a blockage. Never warm up a vehicle in a garage, even if the door is open, especially if the garage is attached to the house.
Most people who die from exposure to CO do so when they are asleep and because they lack proper detector systems.