A Guide to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Guide to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO Poisoning)

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Sources of Poisonous Carbon Monoxide: Stove Use

Often preferred by professional chefs and enthusiastic cooks, gas stoves are installed in kitchens across the country. Although these appliances are known to deliver accurate cooking temperatures and do not heat up the kitchen to unbearable levels while in operation, they do present the potential risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In order to be safe from the dangers of CO inhalation, gas and wood stove installation, operation, and maintenance must be done properly.

Wood stoves present the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in much the same way that fireplaces do. Maximum combustion levels in the stove must be ensured in order to produce the least amount of CO.

Carbon Monoxide from StoveHow does a stove produce carbon monoxide?
Gas stoves and ranges produce carbon monoxide during combustion, similar to any other heating appliances in your home. CO is actually the result of incomplete oxidation, which occurs during the heating process.

Experts say that the typical levels of CO around well maintained gas ranges average around 5 - 15 ppm. However, the level increases when the oven door is opened. In comparison, the levels of CO in kitchens without gas appliances average 0.5 – 5 ppm, according to the EPA. In conclusion, the danger of CO poisoning is higher in homes that function with gas appliances.

Wood stoves also produce carbon monoxide naturally during combustion, emitting dangerous levels if the combustion is incomplete. A blocked flue or any other condition that lessens the airflow leaves your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Installation, Operation and Maintenance
When installed properly, a gas stove, gas range or wood stove should provide your family with years of safe, efficient operation. It is important that the venting and/or chimney systems be designed for the specific model used, and heed to the applicable building codes.

To avoid the risk of being poisoned by carbon monoxide, stove operation, within all the safety measures, is very important. You should not use your gas stove or range to heat your home under any circumstance. If the stove is defective, be sure to have repairs done immediately in order to minimize the risk of CO poisoning. Studies show that well-functioning stoves present a lower level of risk than those in need of repair.

With a wood stove, always use seasoned dry firewood, and do not overload the chamber with burning materials. Have your chimney and stove serviced annually to keep the flue, dampers and all other components working well and free from creosote build up, which is a natural residue caused by flames, and needs to be removed regularly in order to keep your home safe and your wood stove efficient.

Tips on Stove Operation
Gas ranges and stoves are an excellent choice for your kitchen. They help produce gourmet quality meals fast and reliably, making them a highly desirable appliance. But they must be welling good condition in order to remain a safe choice. Wood stoves are also popular for keeping homes comfortable, cozy and warm. The following tips on gas and wood stoves can keep your family safe from the potential risks of CO inhalation.


  • Ensure that the gas or wood stove is installed properly by a qualified professional
  • Have your gas stove or range properly vented
  • Design the chimney and venting systems to follow local building codes
  • Use seasoned dry firewood in a wood stove
  • Schedule regular inspections of the stove
  • Have the stove repaired immediately, should a problem arise
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and test the batteries regularly.


  • Overload the chamber of a wood stove
  • Use your gas stove or range as a heater
  • Turn off your carbon monoxide detectors

Ignore a problem with the stove
Whether it is a wood stove in your living space or a gas range in your kitchen, when it comes to carbon monoxide, stove use can be dangerous. By following the proper methods of installation and use, and by taking care of the maintenance diligently, you can reduce the potential hazards of CO and enjoy the safe comfort of your home.



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