Ontario, over 80% of carbon monoxide deaths and injuries occur in homes. Most people have heard
of carbon monoxide and know that it's dangerous. However, it's often a mystery
of where it comes from, how it's produced and what precautions can be taken to
ensure it doesn't endanger you or your family.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and toxic gas and is often
referred to as the "silent killer". Carbon monoxide poisoning is
a leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America.
Exposure to CO can cause
flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes,
confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness, without the elevated
temperature associated with the flu. In severe cases, CO poisoning can cause
brain damage and death. The elderly, children and people with heart or
respiratory conditions may be particularly sensitive to CO.
How is CO produced?
monoxide is commonly produced as a by-product 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. When this happens,
carbon monoxide can build up, especially in a confined room or space. This can
lead to toxic effects on humans and pets.
What are the sources of CO in my home?
households have on average 4-6 appliances that produce carbon monoxide.
enlarge image of Common Sources of Carbon Monoxide
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How to prevent the build-up of CO in your home:
- Ensure fuel-burning
appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected by professionals
every year before cold weather sets in. Visit COSafety.ca to find a
registered contractor near you.
- Ensure vents for
the dryer, furnace, stove, fireplace and other fuel-burning appliances
should always be clear of snow and other debris.
- Gas and charcoal
barbeques should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows,
vents, and other building openings. Never use barbeques inside garages,
even if the garage doors are open.
fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated
areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
- Ensure all portable
fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer's
- Never use the stove
or oven to heat your home.
- Open the flue before
using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.
Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms, it's the law!
properly installed and maintained CO alarm can alert you to when the poisonous
gas is present. They usually have a life expectancy of approximately 5-7 years
or as indicated by the manufactures requirements.
alarm sounds, evacuate your home quickly. Call the fire department from outside
and ask them to check your home for the presence of carbon monoxide.
Single Family Dwellings
enlarge image of Alarm Location Guidelines
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- If your home has a
fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage, install a CO alarm adjacent
to each sleeping area.
optimum protection, it is recommended that additional CO alarms be installed in
other levels and/or areas of the home that are in proximity to a CO source,
subject to the distance limits provided in the product's instruction manual.
- If there is a
fuel-burning appliance in your condo/apartment, install a CO alarm
adjacent to each sleeping area.
- If your building
has a service room, CO alarms must be installed in the service room and
adjacent to each sleeping area of all condos/apartments above, below and
beside the service room.
- If your building
has a garage, CO alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area
of all condos/apartments above, below and beside the garage.
properties the landlord is responsible for the installation and maintenance of
CO alarms. The landlord is also responsible for providing the tenant with CO
alarm maintenance instructions. Tenants are responsible for notifying the
landlord as soon as they become aware that a CO alarm in their unit is
disconnected, not operating, or its operation is impaired. Also, tenants shall
not disable their CO alarms.
In condominiums, the owner of
the suite is responsible for the installation and maintenance of CO alarms in
the suite. Often, there are agreements between the owner and the condominium
corporation in which the corporation takes on this responsibility on behalf of
the owner. In a situation where the condominium owner rents out the suite to a
tenant, the owner takes on the role of the landlord and is responsible for the
installation and maintenance of the CO alarms.
prevent carbon monoxide from harming you and your family by:
an annual inspection for all fuel-fired appliances in your home
and regularly testing carbon monoxide alarms
information on carbon monoxide visit TSSA or the Office of the Fire Marshal.