From our friends at AmeriSpec Inspection Services, a good reminder about the importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors in our homes:

On October 15, 2014, a new regulation came into effect in Ontario requiring carbon monoxide (CO) detectors be installed in every home. The Hawkins-Gignac Act, Bill 77, is named in honour of a Woodstock, Ontario family who tragically died from CO poisoning in 2008. Two adults and two children perished one night from this silent killer. In fact, 50 Canadians die from CO poisoning each year.

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odourless, invisible gas that is a product of combustion. It comes from car exhaust, furnaces, fireplaces, barbecues and other devices that burn fuel. It builds up slowly in a home from faulty equipment, creating flu-like symptoms. Over time, CO poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage and even death.

The Ontario Building Code has required carbon monoxide detectors since 2011. However, the Bill now covers all homes in Ontario, not just new builds.

Even though the Bill does not cover the rest of Canada, keep reading for some good advice that could save a life. Fortunately, protecting your family is easy. New CO detectors are affordable and simple to install.

  • Carbon monoxide detectors are available at most local hardware stores for under $50.
  • Detectors can be battery-operated, plug-in, or hard-wired into the wiring of your home. Some devices are combination units, detecting both smoke and carbon monoxide. (These units might be priced slightly higher.)
  • They emit a different sound than a standard smoke detector, so make sure your family knows the difference. Just like with smoke alarms, when the carbon monoxide detectors goes off, leave the building and call 911 from a safe place.
  • Because CO mixes with air and doesn’t rise like smoke does, it can be placed at any height in a room. Of course, if you have a combination unit that also detects smoke, it must be placed at ceiling height, the requirement of smoke detectors.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors need to be positioned beside the sleeping areas of the home. That provides the maximum amount of protection against the killer gas.
  • Just like smoke detectors, CO detectors will need to have the batteries replaced every six months. A good rule is to replace the batteries whenever you change your clocks in Spring and Fall. That’s also a good time to schedule inspections for your furnace and fireplace to ensure they are in safe working order.

With a properly installed and functioning carbon monoxide detector placed in your home, you can sleep easy knowing your family is protected.