A guide to carbon monoxide...

What does carbon monoxide smell like?

Sometimes people describe that they "noticed a carbon monoxide smell."

Although there could have been carbon monoxide in the air they were breathing and smelling, carbon monoxide does not smell in and of itself.

Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-irritating and toxic.

Carbon monoxide is formed by the incomplete combustion (burning) of materials containing carbon and can be produced by virtually anything that burns.

Combustion also produces heat, smoke, and number of other elements.

In addition to carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulates, and other toxins are also produced during combustion. It is these elements that may smell like smoke, smell like gas, or give off other smells when they burn.

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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Carbon monoxide
maryann from Bozeman, MT
Carbon monoxide was the result of a furnace not working properly. I smelled a tangy gasoline smell for months prior to having it checked out.

carbon dioxide smells
Pat from Oregon
We searched around our house for something that was causing a "fish" smell in our house and sometimes outside of our house. Finally, we had our furnace checked and found out it was C.D from our furnace because it had a plugged hose. Thank goodness, we did not suffer any effects from this but it sure was a mystery for awhile

Odorless?
Question from Massachusetts
Tonight I began smelling what I describe as a dirt (y) smell. Years ago I smelled in a different apartment. The landlord (my half brother) did nothing.
I called the Fire Department. They walked in with the CM Meter on and went directly into the cellar and shut off the heating system for the whole house. The carbon monoxide reading was off the chart.
They couldn\'t lock it because they stopped making that type of furnace years ago and didn\'t make locks for it anymore.
They called the landlord and said to replace the furnace ASAP.
Maybe I\'m extra sensitive, but I DID smell something like a dirty odor.

elizabeth
even though you said it is odorless, I smell something strange like burning tires maybe, I don't know how else to explain it. I only smelt it in a bedroom down stairs. do you have any idea what it could be?

smell
tc from home
i smell something sweet through the house and my carbon monoxide alarm is beeping

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