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Carbon Monoxide Information

carbon monoxide

When in doubt, call us out!

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds or you suspect carbon monoxide in your home, immediately move to a location with fresh air and call 9-1-1.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, tasteless, deadly gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane and oil burn incompletely. Elevated levels of carbon monoxide can cause illness or death before people even know it is there.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms such as:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • burning eyes
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness

In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage and death. The elderly, children and people with heart or respiratory conditions may be particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide.

What are some danger signs?

  • The air in your house is stuffy. 
  • There is excessive moisture on windows and walls.
  • There is a buildup of soot around appliances and vents.
  • There is a yellow flame in a natural gas appliance instead of a blue one.
  • Your pilot light keeps going out.
  • More than one person of your household is feeling ill.
  • Persons feel ill at home and better when they are away from the house for awhile.

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

The best way to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide is to follow these simple precautions:

  1. Install carbon monoxide alarms on all levels of your home. A carbon monoxide alarm will alert you if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are accumulating. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed outside each sleeping area and are most effective when interconnected throughout your home. Carbon monoxide alarms should be tested monthly and the batteries changed at least once a year. The entire alarm should be replaced every seven years or sooner if required. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for additional information regarding proper installation, use and maintenance.
  2. Have your heating equipment and fuel-burning appliances properly installed, maintained and inspected by a licensed contractor. This includes appliances such as a fireplace, dryer, stove, furnace, and water heater. Poor maintenance of these appliances, damaged or blocked venting, or inadequate airflow can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up.
  3. Make sure all furnace panels or grills are in place and the fan compartment door is secured. This will ensure the gas is properly directed through your furnace and is safely vented out of your home.
  4. Make sure that your chimneys and flue vents are clear of debris, frost and snow. A blocked chimney can allow dangerous combustion gases, including carbon monoxide to accumulate.
  5. Never barbeque on a charcoal, gas or pellet grill indoors. These appliances produce high levels of carbon monoxide. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home. 
  6. Never run your vehicle in the garage. There's always the risk that carbon monoxide will leak into the house, even if the garage door is open.
  7. Never operate a generator in your home, garage or crawl space. Exhaust from a generator contains high levels of carbon monoxide. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home. 
  8. Never use a gas range, oven or dryer for heating your home. These appliances are not built to run for extended periods of time and can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide when overused.
  9. Never start a lawn mower, snow blower, ATV, tractor or motorcycle in an enclosed garage or shed. Carbon monoxide can rapidly accumulate in small spaces and build up to dangerous concentrations within minutes.