Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and colourless. And completely preventable. According to Statistics Canada, between 2000 and 2013, in Canada, there were 4,990 deaths associated to CO poisoning. This included 1,125 deaths where there were no other underlying causes of death and 3,865 where there were other underlying causes of death. BC has one the highest number of CO-related hospitalizations. Currently, there is no requirement in BC to address the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning deaths and injuries in residential dwellings with mandatory CO detector regulations in existing homes — preventable by having functioning CO detectors in all homes.
Carbon monoxide disorients its victims and is most dangerous when people are sleeping and fail to wake up or realize they are at risk, as this gas has no colour, odour, or taste. The only way to detect the presence of the deadly gas is to install a carbon monoxide alarm. The first signs of CO poisoning is flu-like symptoms, and small children and pets are likely to show the symptoms first.
Simply put, installing and maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors can save your life. Today’s technology offers combination detectors that not only protect against both smoke and CO, but some even offer “smart” apps that protect your home when you’re not there, sending an alarm to your phone. Others also offer voice alerts to indicate that dangerous levels of CO are evident.
What kind of combination alarm to buy, and how many?
Ionization smoke detectors respond faster in the flaming stage of a fire, but the photoelectric smoke detector is more reliable in detecting smoke in both the smoldering and flaming stages of a fire. Ionization-type smoke detectors can take 15 to 30 minutes longer to sound than a photoelectric-type smoke detector, and sometimes won’t even sound at all. Slow smoldering fires account for more deaths than fast flaming fires annually, most of which occur during the overnight hours. For maximum protection, you can consider detectors that are both ionizing, photoelectric and co-detection capable.?Install smoke alarms outside each bedroom and sleeping area, and on each level of your home, including the basement. The reason for this is that a dangerous build-up of CO gas will often be trapped within a single level of your home. Your main living level might be quite safe, but you might go down to the basement only to receive a dangerous dose of Carbon Monoxide because you failed to have a detector there – don’t make this mistake.
CO Detectors and how Gandy can help!
Gandy Installations stock CO detectors at the office and can help you make an informed decision on your home’s needs. Ask them to bring one out during a maintenance or repair visit. It’s important to have these products installed by a professional, since proper installation, ventilation, and maintenance will reroute any carbon monoxide emissions out of your home to keep your family safe. Our experts run through where you should place carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Where does CO come from?
CO is produced in the home in various ways. It is essential to know what appliances in your home are fuel-burning and ensure that they are maintained properly. All of these appliances should vent to the outside. You should have your fuel-burning appliances (ex. furnace) checked by a qualified heating contractor every year to look for potential problems. It is also a good idea to know the signs of a potential CO problem:
- Streaks of soot around fuel-burning appliances, or fallen soot in a fireplace
- The absence of an upward draft in your chimney
- Excess moisture and condensation on windows, walls and cold surfaces
- Rusting on flue pipes or appliance jacks
- Orange or yellow flame in combustion appliances (the flame should be blue)
- Damaged or discolored bricks at the top of the chimney
- Running a gas-fired cookstove without the kitchen exhaust fan on.
How to avoid CO problems
A well-ventilated home is the best way to keep your interiors healthy. Not only will it have less VOC’s, (volatile organic compounds) but unwelcome gases (such as CO) leave the home venting out naturally. It’s always a good idea to have your furnace in good working order, with a yearly tuneup. ?If you have a gas stove, get into the habit of turning the fan on while you are cooking, or the oven is on. Many fans come with multiple speeds so you can run the exhaust fan at the level you need.
What to do when the alarm sounds
Don’t ignore a CO alarm if it is sounding. If people in the home are exhibiting symptoms of CO poisoning, immediately leave the building and call your local fire department. In cases where residents are feeling fine, call your local gas utility company or a qualified technician to help identify the cause of the problem.
Gandy Installations uses only the best installers and technicians in the industry, and we see the job through to its completion to make sure our customers are 100% happy. We also have an extensive service department, so that in the event of an unexpected breakdown- we will always be there to help!