Share the Air Week - Learn More about Carbon Monoxide

Contact: Jannette Whitcomb, Senior Environmental Health Program Coordinator for the City of Aspen at 920-5069 or or Carla Ostberg, Environmental Health Manager for Pitkin County at 920-5438 or


In recognition of National Air Quality Awareness week, Garfield, Eagle,  Mesa, and Pitkin County, along with the City of Aspen, and the US EPA have partnered together to raise awareness about indoor and outdoor air quality issues, encouraging our communities to ‘share the air.’


Aspen, CO – May 4, 2011-Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas.  Because you can’t see, taste or smell the fumes it can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, it causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. Home heating devices such as furnaces, wood stoves, or fireplaces can produce carbon monoxide (CO) if they are not venting properly or are not being properly maintained. It can also come from tobacco smoke, car exhaust, gas stoves, generators, and other gas powered equipment.

A common source of CO in your home is gas appliances like heaters, boilers and stoves.

In 2009 the City of Aspen, Pitkin County and the State of Colorado enacted new, more stringent regulations regarding the installation and placement of carbon monoxide detectors.  All structures with a fireplace, heated with fossil fuel, equipped with fossil fuel powered appliances or an attached garage must have a carbon monoxide detector. The local Carbon Monoxide ordinances were developed jointly by Pitkin County, the Aspen Fire Protection District and the City of Aspen.


A CO detector can save your life.  The best detectors have an audible alarm system with a battery backup that will function in a power failure. You should look at the ‘parts per million’ of CO that a particular detector measures, as some models only pick up high levels of CO.

Consider your CO alarm as a backup, not a replacement for regular maintenance of your appliances. Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating systems (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually.

To find out more about air quality in Aspen and Pitkin County go to


Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011