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Protecting Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is also known as the “silent killer”. That’s because it’s a gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. And since it is invisible, odourless and tasteless, CO is the cause of more than 50 deaths in Canada each year, according to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, as reported by Rebecca Joseph of Global News.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms. However, for the vast majority of us, when feeling such symptoms, we don’t assume that CO is the cause.

How is carbon monoxide produced?

“CO is produced anytime a fuel is burned,” explains Kidde Canada, “Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators, and car exhaust fumes.” Their website goes on to reveal that, according to Statistics Canada, 64 percent of Canadians use natural gas, oil, wood and wood pellets or propane as their home’s major heat source.

What that means is most of us are more susceptible to CO poisoning than we may assume. This is especially true if you have an idling vehicle in your home’s attached garage. Even with the garage door opened, carbon monoxide can become trapped in concentrated amounts.

What are some ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

As if this wasn’t already made clear, don’t leave your car running while it’s in your garage. The CO produced by the car can easily seep into your home. As well, don’t heat your home using ovens or stoves. What may seem like an absolutely ridiculous idea is a practice that some people have used during the winter in lieu of turning up the heat.

“Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside or operate outdoors near a window where CO fumes could seep in,” advises Kidde Canada, “Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually. Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.”

What is the best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

In truth, there is only one way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home: a carbon monoxide detector. As mentioned, CO can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, so there’s no way to tell if it has become concentrated in your home. You certainly don’t want to guess as to whether or not your home has a potential problem. Simply put, getting a carbon monoxide detector should be at the top of your to-do list.

“A carbon monoxide detector is the best way to protect you and your family from this potentially deadly threat,” insists the Canada Safety Council, “Install CO alarms where they can be easily heard, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. When installing a CO alarm, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace batteries according to manufacturer’s instructions.”

Protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious matter for all Canadians. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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