Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous, odorless gas which is produced as a byproduct of combustion when common fuel-burning appliances and equipment that use natural gas, oil, wood, propane and kerosene don’t get enough air to burn up completely. According to the Technical Standards & Safety Authority, most Ontario households have between 4-6 carbon monoxide producing appliances such as a furnace, portable generator and gas fireplace.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly. Carbon monoxide can build up, especially in confined spaces, and can lead to toxic effects.
To protect Ontarians from carbon monoxide poisoning, the province now requires carbon monoxide detectors near all sleeping areas in residential homes; and in service rooms (such as boiler rooms and garbage rooms), and next to sleeping areas in multi-residential units.
The Technical Standards & Safety Authority has provided these safety tips:
- Ensure at least one CSA approved carbon monoxide detector is outside bedrooms. However, it is advised to install one on every floor.
- Alarms need to be replaced every 7-10 years depending on the brand. Check the expiry date of the existing detector and replace any devices built before 2008.
- Have a licensed technician inspect your fuel burning appliances (e.g., furnace, range, fireplace, water heater) annually, to ensure they are in proper working order and vented correctly.
- Replace batteries in your detector annually, or opt for models with 10-year sealed lithium batteries that never need to be changed.
- For families with older parents or relatives, help them inspect their detectors.
- When a detector sounds, make sure everyone is out of the house and call 911. Exposure to carbon monoxide reduces a person’s ability to think clearly, so don’t delay clearing out.
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