Carbon Monoxide Hazards

Most people have heard of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and know that it's dangerous. But it's often a mystery of where it comes from, how it's produced, its physical symptoms, and what precautions can be taken to ensure it doesn't endanger you. Or worse, kill you.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas, often referred to as ‘the Silent Killer’ because you can't see it, touch it or smell it. This odourless gas is produced as a by-product of combustion when common fuel-burning appliances and equipment that use natural gas, oil, wood, propane and kerosene, don’t get enough air to burn up completely. When this happens, carbon monoxide can build up, especially in a confined room or space – and this can lead to toxic effects on humans and pets.

Protect yourself and your family from the “Silent Killer.” As per the the Hawkins-Gignac Act, the Ontario Fire Code has officially (October 2014) been amended to protect every Ontarian from carbon monoxide. The updates to the fire code put a number of key measures into effect, including making carbon monoxide alarms a requirement for every household in Ontario with a risk of carbon monoxide. Related video: Carbon Monoxide PSA.

Here is what Ontarians need to know:

  • No matter the age of your home, if you have oil, propane or gas burning appliances, furnace or water heater, a wood or gas fireplace, or an attached garage or carport, you must have at least one working carbon monoxide alarm installed.
  • Home owners who do not protect their homes with a CO alarm are at risk of being fined (similar to smoke alarm laws)
  • It is critical to check your CO alarm(s) expiry date. Replace any alarms built before 2008. CO alarms need to be replaced every 7–10 years depending on the brand.
  • Remember to annually replace batteries in your CO alarm, or opt for models with 10-year sealed lithium batteries that never need to be changed.
  • Regular appliance inspections are critical. Have a licenced technician check your fuel-burning appliances (furnace, range, fireplace, water heater) annually to ensure they are in proper working order and vented correctly.

Carbon Monoxide: Frequently Asked Questions