Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, odourless gas. It is known as the “invisible killer” because the deadly gas cannot be smelled or seen. In fact, according to the TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety Authority), it is the leading cause of accidental poising deaths in North America.
In the home, carbon monoxide is generated by household appliances like the furnace, water heater, dryer, stove, and fireplace – any appliance or device that burns fuel can be a source of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is usually safely filtered outside of the home by vents or the chimney. However if these appliances are poorly maintained, there is damaged or blocked venting, or limited air-flow in confined spaces, this creates a CO hazard. How can you stay safe and keep your family safe?
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Carbon monoxide is odourless and invisible. If you do not have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home, the only way to know that CO is present is at the onset of CO poisoning – and by then it may be too late. Protect yourself and your family by installing CO alarms on every level of your home or cottage. The alarm should be CSA or ULC-certified and tested. If there are elevated levels of carbon monoxide, the alarm will set off giving you and your family time to escape to safety.
Test your CO detectors on a yearly basis at minimum. First, you need to check that the unit has an adequate power supply, which can be done by pressing the “Test” button – it should emit a high-pitched tone.
Next, you need to make sure that the unit is actually detecting carbon monoxide. The safest way is to purchase a carbon monoxide detector test kit, which includes a small container of gas with a high CO concentration that you affix to the detector. The alarm should certainly sound. You can also (safely) wave a lit incense wand or cigarette in front of the alarm to see if it detects lower CO levels. Contact your local HVAC contractor if you prefer to have a professional test that the CO alarm is in good working order.
Annual Appliance Inspection
Finally, you will want to schedule an annual inspection of all your fuel-fired appliances, including your furnace, stove, dryer, fireplace, BBQ, water heater, space heater etc. as applicable. Your HVAC contractor will inspect all elements and ensure that the appliance is in good working order and that there is proper and safe ventilation. Only use a trained, certified HVAC technician registered with TSSA like Denoco to inspect your appliances and ensure CO is safely ventilated.
To learn more about carbon monoxide safety or to schedule an inspection for any fuel-burning appliance, contact Denoco today.