Winter’s Indoor Risk: Carbon Monoxide

Sabrina Schirtzinger, ANR Educator Knox County

With colder temperatures we tend to spend more time indoors. For some winter may be when you clean up your shop/garage, finish a project or start a new one. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a concern when you are in confined areas and equipment that burns fuel are in use. 

Carbon Monoxide (CO) as a gas emits no color or odor and is very common in many U.S. homes, office, garages, and agricultural shops. Especially during the winter months. CO is produced when fuels are burned, such as: kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, fuel oil, wood, and charcoal. Other commonly used items omitting CO are automobiles, gas-powered generators, furnaces, and chimneys. 

Be aware of the symptoms associated with CO poisoning: 

  1. Headaches
  2. Dizziness
  3. Nausea
  4. Vomiting
  5. Irregular breathing 
  6. Feeling ill 
  7. Tired 

How to protect yourself on the farm: 

  1. Don’t burn coal or run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space. 
  2. Never use gas-powered engine indoors. 
  3. Never start or leave running tracks, trucks, and other gas-powered machines in an enclosed area, or near an area where the gas can collect and be concentrated. 
  4. Install approves carbon monoxide alarms in area where gas powered engines are used. 
  5. Annual inspect chimney’s, furnaces, and gas- powered engines for blockages, corrosion, leaks, or loose connections. 
  6. Warm up our vehicles in open spaces, either open the garage door or outside the garage.

If you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, the alarm on your carbon monoxide detector sounds, one should immediately leave the building and call 9-1-1.  

Sabrina Schirtzinger, ANR Educator Knox County, can be reached at 740-397-0401 or Schirtzinger.55@osu.eduThis column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team,



Nationwide Ag Insight Center. (n.d). Use these tips to help avoid and recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Available at