We tend to spend more time indoors in the winter, and indoor use of certain fuel-burning products could result in dangerous air contaminants like carbon monoxide building up in your home.
CO is a tasteless, odourless, and colourless gas. Common sources include household heating and cooking appliances, generators, furnaces, and engines that burn wood or gas.
Carbon monoxide can cause health problems before you even notice that it's present. At very high levels, it can even cause death.
CO alarms are one of the most effective ways you can protect yourself and your family from this silent killer. Be sure to remember these tips when you buy, install and use your carbon monoxide alarm:
- Make sure you have at least one installed in your home. The most important place to install one is the hallway outside sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased at any hardware or home equipment store.
- Choose an alarm that has a certification mark on it, such as CSA, UL or Intertek ETL. It will have an audible alarm to warn you of unsafe levels in your home.
- You may wish to choose an alarm with a screen that displays the level of carbon monoxide, as levels too low to trigger an alarm signal may still pose a health risk to some people.
- Make sure your alarms are installed correctly. Follow the manufacturer's directions for installation, testing, use, and replacement.
- Test your alarms regularly. Replace batteries and the alarm itself as recommended by the manufacturer. Write on the battery or device to remind yourself when it was installed and when it needs to be replaced.
- If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, do not try to locate the source of carbon monoxide. Leave your home immediately to get fresh air and call 911, your fire department, or emergency services once you’re outside. Return to your home only after the problem has been fixed by a professional.
Find more information on keeping a healthy home at canada.ca/healthy-home.