What’s odorless, colourless, and potentially lethal? This isn’t actually a riddle, it’s important information about your home’s safety. Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer for a reason, it’s impossible to detect yourself, so if you have a leak you might not know it. But keeping your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning is relatively easy with one simple piece of equipment, a carbon monoxide detector.
Just like a smoke alarm, every home should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, whether you own your house or rent an apartment. Detectors are the only way to properly detect the presence of carbon monoxide in your home and will let you know when you need to evacuate. In Canada, detectors are certified by the Standards Council of Canada and should have a mark on it to let you know they are approved for your home. Always make sure you install your detector as per the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the alarm is working properly. The hall outside the bedrooms in your home is the ideal location so you and your family are woken up should the alarm go off at night. In larger houses, it may be worthwhile to install multiple alarms. Make sure you test your alarm regularly and replace the batteries when needed so you won’t ever go without coverage. You can write the date of the battery replacement on the unit so you know how long it’s been and when they may need to be refreshed.
Should your carbon monoxide alarm go off, evacuate your home with your family as soon as possible. Do not go looking for the source of the carbon monoxide. Call 911 and they will dispatch the appropriate services to check on your home. Do not go back inside until the issue has been fixed by a professional.
Carbon monoxide can cause illness that can lead to death if not properly dealt with. Symptoms can range from fatigue, headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness and shortness of breath to more severe with longer exposure, convulsions and coma. That’s why it’s important to do what you can to minimize the chance of a carbon monoxide leak by, keeping your garage closed off from your house, using gas powered machines in places with lots of ventilation, and having your appliances like fireplaces, furnaces, gas stoves, and water heaters checked and properly maintained by a professional. These, and more tips can be found on the government’s website here and will keep your family safe at home!