Carbon monoxide, often simply called CO, is an odourless, tasteless, colourless gas. It can cause serious health problems before you even notice it, even death.
Carbon monoxide can only be detected with a dedicated alarm; a traditional smoke alarm will not detect it in your home. When purchasing your CO alarm, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, testing, use, replacement and disposal.
The most important place to install the alarm is in the hallway outside sleeping areas. Preferably, you should also have one alarm on every level of your home.
Contact your municipal or provincial/territorial government for more information on the use and installation of carbon monoxide alarms in your area. The local fire department may also be able to assist you.
To further protect yourself, and those in your care, follow these tips:
- Make sure fuel-powered appliances are well maintained and inspected by a professional at least once a year. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, gas stoves and water heaters.
- If your heater or air conditioner uses air filters, replace them regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never use fuel-powered generators inside the home, including in the garage.
- Never use fuel-powered machines (trimmers, generators, lawnmowers, snow blowers, barbecues or portable fuel-burning camping equipment) in the garage, even when the door is open.
- Never leave your car idling in the garage, even when the door is open.
- Never use a barbecue or portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside your home, vehicle, camper or tent.
- Finally, never use kerosene or oil space heaters and lamps in enclosed areas unless they’re specifically designed for indoor use.
Find more information on keeping a healthy home at canada.ca/healthy-home.