Carbon monoxide

If you suspect you are exposed to carbon monoxide, or if a carbon monoxide alarm sounds, leave the building immediately and call 9-1-1.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas released from a fossil fuel (like kerosene, gasoline, natural gas, propane, wood or coal) do not burn completely. Being exposed to carbon monoxide gas can result in death for people and pets. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to symptoms of influenza, so they can sometimes be missed. Carbon monoxide poisoning does not cause a fever.

Symptoms include: 

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty hearing or seeing
  • Shortness of breath

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning & exposure

  • Have fuel-burning appliances like furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces, and gas dryers cleaned and checked annually by a qualified service technician.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed and vented.
  • Never idle vehicles in an attached garage, even if the door is open.
  • Ensure all fresh air intake vents, exhaust vents, and chimneys are clear of snow, insulation, leaves, bird nests, lint, and debris.
  • Check forced air fans for proper ventilation. 
  • Never use gasoline-powered engines, charcoal or propane barbecues or grills, or kerosene stoves in closed spaces or indoors. 
  • Do not use fuel-powered heaters in enclosed spaces like a garage, even if the door is open.

Carbon monoxide alarms

Like a smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm will sound if it detects carbon monoxide. A carbon monoxide alarm should be installed on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.

If your alarm sounds, leave the building and call 9-1-1. You can purchase an alarm that detects smoke and carbon monoxide at the same time. Check the packaging for the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased at any home supplies store for less than $50.

Test your carbon monoxide alarm and your smoke alarm every month.

Frequently asked questions

You should have at least one carbon monoxide alarm in your home. If you have more than one level, place a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed near sleeping areas, so you can hear them when sleeping. Place a second alarm near your furnace or heating source. It should be placed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, do not ignore it. Get out of the building and call 9-1-1. If your alarm is making an unusual sound, it might be malfunctioning or telling you it needs to be replaced. Replace your alarm if you think it is not working correctly. Learn about the different types of sounds an alarm can make.

Sensors in carbon monoxide alarms will eventually stop working over time. Check your alarm’s instructions or look for a date printed on the alarm to see when it needs to be replaced. Test your carbon monoxide alarms every month.

Most carbon monoxide alarms you can buy are certified models. Contact the manufacturer for more information about non-certified models.

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