Top 10 Facts and Tips About Carbon Monoxide
(NC) Every Ontario home must have a working carbon monoxide (CO) alarm installed outside all sleeping areas. This is the case if the home has an attached garage or a furnace, fireplace, appliance or other device that burns natural gas, oil, wood, propane or other fossil fuel.
This provincial law was passed in October 2014, and the six-month compliance grace period expired in April 2015.
Kidde Canada provides the following safety tips and information to keep your home and family safe from the dangers of CO:
1. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of “incomplete combustion” of fossil fuels that are burned for heat or energy.
2. The first step in protecting your family is having a licensed technician check all heating systems annually. Don’t forget flues and ductwork – if they are cracked or obstructed, deadly CO gas won’t be vented safely outside.
3. Carbon monoxide is not heavier than air. So battery powered, plug-in or combination smoke/CO alarms can be hardwired or safely installed at any height. The average cost is between $25 and $60, depending on features.
4. An alarm must be installed adjacent to every sleeping area to increase the likelihood that those asleep will wake up if it goes off. Without a CO alarm, you may never wake up.
5. CO alarms monitor airborne concentrations of CO and sound an alarm when harmful levels are present. They are designed to sense low concentrations over a long period of time as well as high concentrations over a short period of time.
6. CO alarms with a continuous digital display are popular because you can see at-a-glance if the gas is present, even at levels below those that cause the alarm to sound. Small problems can be addressed early.
7. Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu without the fever. Nausea, headaches and lethargy can turn into confusion, collapse and death if fresh air is not reached.
8. Most people associate carbon monoxide with colder temperatures and turning on the furnace or lighting the fireplace, but it is a four-season killer due to the increased popularity of natural gas appliances and the airtightness of homes today.
9. The newest generation of Kidde’s CO alarms (smoke, carbon monoxide and combination smoke/CO) are called “Worry-Free” and they have a sealed lithium battery that lasts 10 years, the same as the alarm lifespan itself. Extremely versatile installation options.
10. Like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms do not last forever. The lifespan averages 7-10 years depending on the brand. All Kidde CO alarms now last 10 years.
Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because humans cannot see, smell or taste it. The only way to detect its presence is with a working CO alarm. Fines for non-compliance with the law can be $235 and higher.
More information is available at www.safeathome.ca.