Where does CO gas come from?
What is CO?
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
Are there any other things I should be looking for?
Where might CO come from in my home?
Where should I put the CO detector in my home?
Are CO alarms required by law in BC?
What can I do to prevent CO poisoning?
CO is produced when a fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, natural gas, wood or propane burns incompletely. When outside appliances like barbeques or stoves are brought into enclosed spaces or appliances like fire places, stoves and furnaces are not maintained, CO can get trapped and create a toxic environment.
This may happen if:
- Faulty or damaged heating appliances are being used
- Heating appliances are not maintained or serviced
- Rooms are not properly ventilated
- There are blocked chimneys or flues
- Barbecue grills or outdoor heaters are used indoors
- There is poor installation of heating appliances
- Heating appliances are used improperly
- There are property alterations or home improvements, which reduce ventilation
- Engines vehicles or lawnmowers are left running in garages
- Cooking appliances are used for heating purposes
CO is a colourless, odorless and tasteless gas that blocks your body’s ability to absorb oxygen.
- light headedness
- chest pains
Condensation on windows, plants dying, and/or having an entire family sick at the same time can be indicators that there are toxic levels of CO in your home.
Carbon monoxide may come from several sources in your home including fireplaces, cars, furnaces, water heaters, gas ranges, or portable generators.
Download the Carbon Monoxide pamphlet in PDF format.
Ideally, there should be a CO detector placed within 5 feet of every bedroom door and they should be placed beside or near a smoke detector. This will help you hear the alarm(s) if you are sleeping and also remind you to test and replace the batteries of both alarms at the same time. Combination smoke and CO detectors are also available.
For more information on the best locations for your CO detector visit www.safeathome.ca/alarm_placement.php.
Your CO detector should be installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
CO detectors are currently only mandatory in new homes but they can increase your ability to prevent CO poisoning. CO detectors can be hardwired to your home or battery operated. If battery operated, the batteries should be changed every 6 months. CO detectors should be replaced every 7 years.
When purchasing an CO detector, look for one with a digital read out and a ‘Vocal Alarm’ if possible. Vocal alarms allow you to record an alert message with your own voice, which has been shown to be more effective especially when alerting children. Click here for more information on this study. http://eprints.vu.edu.au/447/1/kids_-_belfast.pdf.
Maintaining your appliances—have them serviced annually.
Even the newest appliances can malfunction and produce poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) gas.
Protect yourself and your family by booking maintenance appointments once a year for your appliances and fires places. You can find a licensed gas contractor by using the BC Safety Authority “Find a Contractor” tool and selecting "gas" next to "Type."
Protect your Space!
In certain weather it can be temping to cook or bring heaters into enclosed camping spaces like tents, cars, campers or RVs. However, camping equipment like heaters, stoves, barbeques and kerosene lamps are meant to be used outside because they emit CO and require ventilation.
DO NOT bring them into enclosed spaces. Leave them outside.
For more information about carbon monoxide, please visit our Be in the Know about CO.