Don't Let the Turkey Get You Down! Carbon Monoxide Alert

8 Comments Read/write comments

Are you sleepy because of the tryptophan in the turkey?  Or because of the carbon monoxide from your oven?

I love Thanksgiving! It's my favorite holiday, full of memories of big meals at my grandparents' house in Leesville, Louisiana. We all sat around the big round table made by my grandfather, Allison Sr., ate way too much turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and other goodies, and had, as I recall, some of the funniest dinner table discussions of my youth.

This morning I'm typing this up in a hotel in Tifton, Georgia, as my wife and I drive down to have Thanksgiving with my sisters in Florida. My aunt the artist is also flying in from Dallas to share the holiday with us. It's going to be great!

But my message today isn't about my family Thanksgiving. It's a warning to you about yours. My friend and National Comfort Institute instructor David Richardson, one of the most knowledgeable guys I know on the topic of combustion safety, wrote an article yesterday about the dangers of natural gas ovens

I won't recount the whole thing to you. I'll just tell you that these appliances that we depend on so much can be more dangerous than you might suspect. They can produce quite a lot of carbon monoxide, so if you're feeling sleepy after your Thanksgiving turkey, it may not be the tryptophan at work. It could be carbon monoxide poisoning. David said that more than half of the gas ovens that he's tested are outside the acceptable range carbon monoxide production. Go read his article!

If you have a gas oven and are planning to roast the turkey in it, please use lots of ventilation. Run the range hood before, during, and after. Open windows and doors. Don't leave the oven on longer than necessary. Go outside and get some fresh air. Then, as soon as you can after Thanksgiving, call an energy auditor to test it for CO.

Before I wrap this up and get ready to hit the road again, let me take a moment to thank you.

energy vanguard blog thankfulness thanksgiving turkey

I started the Energy Vanguard blog in March of 2010, so we've been going less than two years now. I've been amazed and pleased by the reception we've gotten and by the tremendous growth in readers, commenters, and subscribers. Thank you so much for taking the time to read our articles. I really, really appreciate it.

To those of you who supported Energy Vanguard during the recent dustup with Guardian Building Products, I offer a special thank you. I'm humbled by all the support we got. Please know that I was in no way using the conflict just to get attention. I realize that having such devoted and supportive readers as we have is an awesome responsibility, and I will always strive to do right by you.

Thank you, all. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

(And for those of you in other countries, have a wonderful Thursday.)



Photo of turkey in gas oven by hzeller from, used under a Creative Commons license.
Thankfulness image by tengrrl from, used under a Creative Commons license.


Bill Schrader

Allison -- back at you -- Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. 

David Richardson

Thank you for continuing to raise awareness on such important topics Allison. 
Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving!

W. Blake Talbott

I would echo the appreciation of others on important comments. Thank you for helping us all to provide more energy efficient and healthy buildings.  
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours!

Carl D. Clark

Sage advise Allison (pun intended) 
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Danko Davidovic

happy Thanskgiving, and congratulations for how you handled the issue with Guardian guys. That being said, I will take this opportunity to promote you into the guardian of building science of the first order...

Grace @ Decontamination Services

Thank you for circulating this information on carbon monoxide safety and awareness. I cook with an old natural gas oven and while it has lots of character, I doubt it's up to code. I'll be sure to have it tested before cooking Christmas dinner. Thanks again! 

Carbon Monoxide Detection

It's strange but out of the many hundreds of people I've talked to about the dangers of carbon monoxide, most of them seem to think that only their heating systems (boilers, gas fires) could be a a risk for a threatening level of CO. I think more articles like this one need to be spread for people to realize that gas ovens are also a major risk.


We started cooking up to 22 lb birds in an electric countertop roaster. We found it cooks them faster,juicer, and with no CO. Save that toxic oven for the pies!!