New Ontario Law Makes Carbon Monoxide Detectors Mandatory
They are now required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in service rooms (boiler rooms or garbage rooms) and in multi-residential units. The devices range in price from $30-$60 and can be plugged in, hard-wired or battery operated.
Until this time, only residential buildings built after 2001 were required to have carbon monoxide alarms. With this new measure to ensure all Ontario families are safe in their homes, the regulation will be enforced by fire departments who will check for carbon monoxide detectors during home inspections for smoke detectors, also mandatory.
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide in the Home
Often referred to as “a silent killer,” carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas that is produced when any material burns. Sources in the home include furnaces, gas space heaters, gas cooking stoves, water heaters, dryers, fireplaces, charcoal grills, and wood-burning stoves. Outside the home, sources include lawn mowers, camp stoves, motor vehicles and some power tools.
There are a number of dangers associated with carbon monoxide – some short term, and some permanently damaging or even fatal. Two of the most significant dangers is that symptoms tend to be non-specific, and it is possible to continue breathing in carbon monoxide until it leads to long term damage, or death.
The long term dangers associated with carbon monoxide exposure can be severe. It can result in brain damage, organ dysfunction, memory problems, personality changes and many other permanent issues.
Keep Your Alarm Properly Maintained
- Install and maintain your CO detector according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and when you do so mark the product’s expiry date on it with a marker
- Replace the battery annually, or opt for models with 10-year sealed lithium batteries
- Replace the unit entirely every 7 – 10 years
- Check the expiry date of existing detector and replace any devices built before 2008
- If you have older parents or relatives, help them inspect their detectors and keep them maintained
Other Ways to Protect Yourself
- Be sure to properly vent and maintain all fuel-burning appliances
- Never use any kind of fuel-burning camping equipment inside the home or garage unless it is specifically designed for use in an enclosed space
- Keep your chimney clean and well-maintained
- Never leave a car running in a garage that is attached to the home, even with the garage door open
- Keep an eye out for the signs of carbon monoxide problems in your home:
- excess moisture found on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces in the home
- orange or yellow flames in combustion appliances (they should be blue)
- streaks of soot around fuel-burning appliances
- Know the symptoms of CO poisoning in humans. For most people, the first signs of exposure to low concentrations of CO include mild headache and breathlessness. Continued exposure can lead to flu-like symptoms including dizziness, nausea, irritability, and poor coordination
The new law indicates that significant steps have been made toward enhancing public safety in Ontario. Is your household meeting the requirements of the new law?