Carbon Monoxide — Don’t be Caught off Guard
It’s the middle of winter and you’ve likely cranked up the heat in your home or you’re enjoying the warmth of your fireplace. But take note — furnaces, stoves, ovens, water heaters and blocked chimney vents can all be potential sources of carbon monoxide. This deadly gas forms when you burn fuel like propane, natural gas, gasoline, oil, coal or wood. Carbon monoxide is dubbed “the silent killer” because it’s hard to detect — the gas is colourless, odourless and tasteless. Here are some important safety tips to help you and your family keep safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide from Forming in Your Home
- Have your furnace, water heater, wood stove, chimney and portable heaters inspected annually by a licensed professional.
- Make sure your fireplace damper is opened and clear of debris before using your fireplace.
- Vent all fuel-burning equipment to the outside and keep it clear and unblocked.
- When purchasing new appliances, look for products that have been tested and are labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Ask a professional to inspect for common signs of potential carbon monoxide: moisture around windows or walls near a furnace; damage or discoloured bricks at the top of your chimney; and excessive rust on vent pipes or on the outside of appliances.
- Have a professional service fuel-burning appliances and make sure they’re properly installed without any gas leaks.
- Don’t use a generator or fuel-burning camping equipment in your home or in an enclosed space.
- Do not burn charcoal in an enclosed area. Never heat your home with gas appliances such as your oven or clothes dryer.
- Never idle a car in a garage, even with the garage doors open.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm Testing and Replacement
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm (Canadian Standards Association approved) on every level of your home and in the hallway outside the bedrooms.
- Test your alarms regularly and charge the batteries at least every six months.
- Make sure you can tell the difference between the sound of your fire alarm and your carbon monoxide detector.
- Leave your home immediately and call 911 if your carbon monoxide detector sounds.
According to Health Canada, the effects of exposure to carbon monoxide can be very serious — sometimes deadly:
- If exposed to low levels, symptoms can include: headaches, tiredness, shortness of breath and impaired motor functions. These symptoms often mimic the flu.
- If exposed to high levels, symptoms can include: chest pain, tiredness, poor vision and difficulty thinking.
- When exposed to extremely high levels, carbon monoxide can cause convulsions, coma and even death.
Keep you and your family safe by following these tips!
Soure: Health Canada