Carbon monoxide dangers in the home

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that you cannot detect on your own. It is produced when wood, propane, natural gas, diesel, charcoal, gasoline, or other fuel burns without enough oxygen.

Improperly vented or malfunctioning fuel-powered appliances and equipment may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the common flu, and can lead to death.

  • Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm near sleeping areas, and on each level of your home. A CO alarm will not prevent CO gas from accumulating, but it will warn you of its presence before dangerous levels are reached.

Potential sources of CO in the home


Kitchen

Kitchen

Sources of CO: improperly installed or faulty natural gas or propane oven, range, refrigerator, or vent hood.

  • Ensure external vents are not blocked by snow, ice, leaves or debris.
  • Never use a barbecue, grill or camp stove inside your home or an enclosed space.
  • Have your gas appliances inspected and maintained by a licensed heating contractor once a year.

Living room

Living room

Sources of CO: faulty natural gas or propane fireplace, cracked flue, clogged or blocked chimney, inadequate fresh air intake or operating a fuel-burning space heater.

  • Have your chimney cleaned regularly.
  • Ensure there is a fresh air intake duct on your wood-burning fireplace or stove.
  • Never operate a fuel-burning space heater in an enclosed space.
  • Ensure external vents are clear of snow, ice, leaves and debris.
  • Have your gas fireplace inspected and maintained by a licensed heating contractor once a year.

Laundry room

Laundry room

Source of CO: improperly installed or faulty gas clothes dryer.

  • Clean the lint catcher before or after each load.
  • Ensure the external vent is clear of snow, ice, leaves and debris.
  • Have your gas dryer inspected and maintained by a licensed heating contractor once a year.

Basement

Basement

Sources of CO: improperly installed or faulty natural gas, propane or oil furnace, boiler, or water heater.

  • Have your space and water heating equipment inspected and maintained by licensed heating contractor once a year.
  • Ensure the furnace area is clear of clutter to operate efficiently.

Garage

Garage

Sources of CO: operating a combustion engine vehicle, gas-powered tool, generator, barbecue or grill in an enclosed area.

  • Open the overhead door before starting your vehicle, and never leave it running in the garage.
  • Never operate a barbecue, grill, or gas-powered tools and equipment inside your garage, even with the door open.