The Allegheny County Health Department warned that the end of the heating season and the arrival of warm weather doesn't stop the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
While most accidental poisonings occur in cold weather and are heating-related, other potential sources of carbon monoxide exist all year long or stem from warm weather activities.
For example, health officials report that a 37-year-old Robinson man was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes last month from a lawn mower running in a shed with the door open.
The poisoning was not fatal but underscores the danger of operating a lawn mower or any other type of gasoline-powered lawn tool, as well as recreational engines, in an enclosed space.
Such equipment should never be operated in enclosed areas, not even in an open garage or shed and not even for just a few minutes while starting it up or doing engine maintenance.
Other possible sources of carbon monoxide include gasoline-powered generators operated indoors during storm-related power outages and swimming pools with faulty heater installations.
Five local residents suffered nonfatal poisonings in 1999 when carbon monoxide fumes from a pool heater backed up into their home.
In addition, charcoal and propane grills are potential sources of deadly carbon monoxide and intended for outdoor use only. They never should be used to cook in an enclosed space, not even inside an open garage on a rainy day.
Health officials also warn that whether you're working on the engine or just warming it up, letting a motor vehicle run inside an open garage is dangerous anytime of the year.
Summer carbon monoxide hazards are magnified when a home is airtight and air conditioned, which limits the amount of fresh air from the outside, or when whole house fans are operated improperly and backdrafting may create potentially unsafe carbon monoxide levels.