Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. It is often referred to as the "silent killer". CO is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal or wood.
CO Detector

Improperly installed or poorly maintained appliances that run on these fuels may create unsafe levels of CO. In enclosed spaces such as your home, cottage or recreational vehicle, even a small amount of CO is dangerous.

Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness. In very severe cases, CO poisoning can cause brain damage and death. The elderly, children, people with heart or respiratory conditions, and pets may be particularly sensitive to CO and may feel the effects sooner.

The conditions that can create a CO hazard include:

Fuel-burning appliances, venting systems and chimneys that have not been serviced and maintained regularly by a qualified service technician or heating contractor.

A chimney blocked by a bird or squirrel's nest, snow and ice or other debris.

Improper venting of a furnace and cracked furnace heat exchangers.

Exhaust fumes seeping into your home from a car running in an attached garage.

Using fuel-burning appliances designed for outdoor use (barbecues, lanterns, chainsaws, lawnmowers, snowblowers) in a closed area (tent, recreational vehicle, cottage, workshop, garage).

Combustion gases spilling into a home if too much air is being consumed by a fireplace or exhausted by kitchen/bathroom fans in a tightly-sealed home.

At any time, if you or any one else in your home is experiencing the symptoms of CO, make sure that everyone leaves the home immediately and gets medical help. Call 911 or your local fire department. If a CO detector alarm sounds in your home, open all doors and windows to ventilate. If you can't find the problem and the alarm continues, contact your local gas utility or a qualified heating contractor to check your fuel-burning equipment.

Remember that carbon monoxide detectors are a good second line of defence, but they do not eliminate the need for regular inspection, maintenance and safe use of your fuel-burning appliances. For information on where to find a qualified contractor in your area, check out the website of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors of Canada at www.hrac.ca, or call 1-877-411-4722


Be aware of these Danger Signs!

You or other members of your family are experiencing the symptoms of CO exposure.

You notice a sharp, penetrating odour or smell of gas when your furnace or other fuel-burning appliance turns on.

The air feels stale or stuffy.

The pilot light of your gas furnace or other fuel-burning appliance goes out.

Chalky, white powder forms on the chimney/exhaust vent pipe or soot builds up around the exhaust vent.

Excessive moisture forms on windows and walls.

The alarm of a carbon monoxide detector sounds.