How To Detect and Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Did you know that carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the top causes of accidental deaths in North America?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It is a toxic gas that replaces the oxygen in your blood, causing the body to suffocate from the outside. Most people have no idea they are exposed to a high level of carbon monoxide until it’s too late.

Why Should You Care About Carbon Monoxide?

It Kills

Many Canadians die every year from CO poisoning in their own homes. Since the human body is most vulnerable to the effects of Carbon Monoxide during sleeping hours, many die in their sleep.

A very sad example of Carbon Monoxide poisoning from a generator they were using after their power was cut off: Carbon Monoxide Kills Dad, Seven Kids in Maryland.

It Injures

Hundreds of Canadians are hospitalized every year from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, many of whom are permanently disabled. Everyone is at risk – 88% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat.

ATCO Gas just published an excellent article on Carbon Monoxide:


Prevent and Detect CO


Furnaces and other natural appliances

  • Have your furnace and other natural appliances (such as your hot water heater, natural gas stove, etc.) checked regularly by a qualified technician, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Check your filter monthly. For a disposable filter, be sure to replace it when it’s dirty. You may also have a permanent filter that requires regular cleaning.
  • Check your furnace flame monthly. You should see a clear blue flame. Call a qualified technician if you see a yellow flame.
  • Never plug or cover vents designed to supply air to your gas appliances.
  • Keep the area around your furnace free of clutter.
  • Keep your furnace’s panels and grills in place.
  • Do only maintenance you are comfortable with. For anything else, call a qualified technician.

In a garage:

  • Never idle a vehicle in a garage, even with the door open.
  • Make sure that your garage is properly ventilated.
  • Maintain your garage heater according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Wood-burning fireplace:

  • Always have an adequate fresh air supply before you start a wood fire.
  • Open a nearby window if your fireplace does not have its own air intake.
  • Always keep chimneys and vents clear and clean.

Around the hone:

  • Never run exhaust fans, power attic vents or central vacuum systems for a long time.
  • Never use a charcoal barbecue or portable gas grill inside.
  • Check your indoor and outdoor vents monthly, looking for rust, soot buildup, cracks or blockages. If you see any, call a qualified technician.


How To Detect Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide detectors are a source of warning that can provide extra protection and save lives.

Keep in mind that the human body is most vulnerable to the effects of CO during sleeping hours.

For maximum protection, a carbon monoxide detector should be installed near bedrooms and on every level of your home.

In order to avoid false alarms, do not install a CO detector in your garage, where car exhaust may damage the device.

If you don’t have a security system, if your security system is not monitored, or if you are unhappy with your current security provider, call me for a free, no-obligation consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, 780-288-2986