According to, there are easy ways to distinguish between the two gases:

Carbon monoxide (CO) is released when methane and other gases are not combusted properly.

  • CO poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States.
  • CO is produced when fuel-burning appliances aren’t ventilated properly. Appliances include oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, ovens, kerosene space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves
  • CO is also produced naturally by volcanoes and forest fires because of the partial oxidation of methane in the atmosphere. It is also produced from human and animal waste.

On the other hand, carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential for plants and trees to survive.

Plants and trees turn CO2 into oxygen through photosynthesis, which then makes oxygen more plentiful for humans and animals.

  • CO2 poisoning is extremely rare.
  • CO2 is released when animals and humans exhale during respiration.
  • CO2 is generated by internal combustion engines.

Why does all of this matter?

The confusion between the two gases can cause people to underestimate the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can result in flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, vomiting, dizziness or confusion. If someone is exposed to CO and remains untreated, they can succumb to the deadly poison.


Tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  1. Have your heating system inspected yearly by a qualified heating and cooling technician.
  2. Purchase CO detectors with a back-up battery and check the batteries in sync with daylight savings time.
  3. Don’t use a generator or charcoal grill inside your home.
  4. Don’t run your car inside your garage, even if the door is open.
  5. Don’t heat your home with your stove or oven and use appliances in accordance to the safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  6. If anyone, including pets show signs of sickness that are sudden and unexplained, seek a medical professional immediately.

For more safety tips, visit