What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless toxic gas and in an enclosed space, such as a home or garage, even a small amount can cause serious illness or death. Carbon monoxide is produced through the incomplete combustion of propane, gasoline, natural gas, wood or heating oils. This can occur when a fuel-burning appliance is not maintained, a vent is blocked or damaged, or a vehicle is left running in an attached garage, or a generator is not running outdoors or is not sufficiently ventilated.

Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include flu-like symptoms (without the fever) such as impaired motor functions, chest pain, tiredness or dizziness. If carbon monoxide is suspected leave the building immediately and contact 911.

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What are the Sources of Carbon Monoxide?

The following diagram explains where sources of carbon monoxide can come from.

  1. Blocked vents or chimney
  2. Fireplace
  3. Portable fuel heater
  4. Stove
  5. Improperly installed cook top vent
  6. Stored BBQ
  7. Car
  8. Furnace
  9. Water Heater
  10. Dryer

Safety Checklist

There are no obvious signs of carbon monoxide exposure, which is why without a working CO alarm it is hard to detect a leak. Taking these simple steps at home can also help prevent and detect carbon monoxide. Review this simple checklist regularly to keep you safe from CO exposure.

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Learn about Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Have you installed carbon monoxide alarms in your home? The installation of CO detectors is necessary and mandatory.

Many provinces have taken necessary steps to help reduce incidents by establishing new regulations mandating carbon monoxide alarms in all residential homes. CGA encourages all home owners to protect themselves from potential carbon monoxide exposure by installing and regularly maintaining their CO alarms. We also recommend looking at the specific CO alarm legislation for your province.