Carbon Monoxide Detectors


What is Carbon Monoxide?

A colourless, odorless, tasteless gas.

EFFECTS:  If inhaled, carbon monoxide takes away oxygen from the blood. Prolonged exposure can lead to unconsciousness, brain damage, or death.

SYMPTOMS:  Headaches, weakness, nausea, vomiting and loss of muscle control. Can be confused with the flu.

SIGNS:  Stuffy air, water vapor, back draft, and soot from a fireplace.

CAUSES: Blocked or dirty vents, flues, chimneys, and furnaces, as well as improper ventilation while burning fireplaces or woodstoves.

Tips on How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • HAVE a qualified service technician check the furnace and other fuel-burning equipment for safety and efficiency.
  • MAKE sure wood or coal-burning stoves are properly installed and vented.
  • DO NOT operate a gasoline-powered engine, kerosene stove, or charcoal grill in a closed space.
  • CLEAN and inspect your chimneys regularly.
  • BARBECUE grills should never be operated indoors.
  • CHECK clothes dryer vents that open outside the house for lint.
  • CHECK forced air fans for proper ventilation.

If you suspect carbon monoxide in your home, get out right away and call the Fire Department.

Where Should I Place a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Because carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and because it may be found with warm, rising air, detectors should be placed on a wall about five feet above the floor. The detector may be placed on the ceiling.

Do not place the detector right next to or over a fireplace or flame-producing appliance.

Keep the detector out of the way of pets and children. Each floor needs a separate detector.

If your getting a single carbon monoxide detector, place it near the sleeping area and make certain the alarm is loud enough to wake occupants up.

What Do I Do if the Alarm Sounds?

Do not ignore the alarm!  It is intended to go off before you are experiencing symptoms. Silence the alarm, get all members of the household to fresh air, and ask whether anyone is experiencing any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  If anyone is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911.  If no one has symptoms, ventilate the building, identify and remedy the source of the carbon monoxide before returning inside, and have appliances or chimneys checked by a professional as soon as possible.