Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness

Avoid the Silent Killer

Natural gas is safe, reliable and clean. However, like any other material when burned - including wood, paper, charcoal, kerosene, propane and gasoline - natural gas can produce carbon monoxide (CO). Whether in a home or a business, make sure natural gas appliances are operating properly, especially in fall and winter when furnaces are running more frequently.

What is CO?

CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is very hazardous. It can prevent you from breathing in the oxygen needed to survive. If you suspect a carbon monoxide problem, act immediately to protect yourself and others.

If You Suspect a CO Problem

  • Immediately leave the building and get into fresh air.
  • If necessary seek medical assistance.
  • Call 911.
  • Do not re-enter the building until it is determined safe by a qualified professional.

Signs of CO Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to those of the flu.

Signs of CO Poisoning

Potential Sources of CO

DTE recommends an annual inspection of all your natural gas appliances.

Potential Sources of CO

Carbon Monoxide Precautions


  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in main areas away from vents and appliances or equipment that produce smoke or steam.
  • Make sure natural gas appliances are properly installed, vented and maintained.
  • Hire a maintenance professional to check your furnace and other fuel-burning appliances annually.
  • Schedule a yearly inspection of your flues, vents and chimneys to ensure they are clear of debris and in proper working condition.
  • Keep the area around your heating equipment clean and unblocked to allow proper airflow.
  • Shut and secure furnace compartment doors.


  • Do not use a natural gas range or oven to heat your business.
  • Do not run a generator inside any areas of an enclosed building.
  • Do not operate a vehicle, lawn mower or grill in a closed garage or use an outdoor grill inside the home or business.
  • Do not use a wood-burning fireplace and furnace simultaneously for long periods of time. This can cause back drafting.
  • Do not hang objects on natural gas lines inside your business.