What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be a silent killer in your home. Carbon monoxide is referred to as a “competitive inhibitor”, meaning that it competes with oxygen in red blood cells. In high concentrations, carbon monoxide ultimately deprives your body of essential oxygen.
Where does it come from?
Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of many combustion reactions. Typically, carbon monoxide is produced from incomplete combustion by gas or oil furnaces, hot water heaters, gas stoves, fireplaces, wood-stoves, propane fired appliances, clogged or leaky chimneys, exhaust ducts and vehicle exhaust.
If it is colourless, odorless, and tasteless, how do I know carbon monoxide is present?
Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue, burning eyes, vomiting, or loss of muscle control. Some people may describe carbon monoxide poisoning like having consistent flu like symptoms.
How to Protect Yourself
Inspect Fuel Burning Appliances
All fuel, including gas, burning appliances should be inspected annually by professionals to ensure they are in a proper functioning manner.
ATCO Gas provides a FREE service for inspecting all gas appliances. For more information about this free service, visit the ATCO Gas website.
Buy a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Where to place a carbon monoxide alarm?
Place a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of your home, especially near any sleeping areas, and fuel burning appliances.
How do I test a carbon monoxide alarm?
Testing your carbon monoxide alarm every month can ensure that the alarm is properly working. This can simply be done by pressing the test button, and following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Like smoke alarms, do carbon monoxide alarms expire?
Carbon monoxide alarms do expire. However, their expiry does depend on the manufacture. Check the information package that comes with the carbon monoxide alarm for further information on when the alarm expires.
Know What To Do If You Have Carbon Monoxide In Your Home
If you experience any of these symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, or the carbon monoxide detector goes off, leave the home immediately, and call 911 from a safe location.
Typically all fire departments, including Regional Emergency Services, have special gas detectors and monitors that can measure carbon monoxide more effectively and accurately than residential grade carbon monoxide detectors.