Did you remember to check your carbon monoxide detectors over the weekend? We often use Daylight Savings Time as a reminder to change the batteries in our smoke alarms, however, when we turn our clocks an hour forward, we should also remember to check our CO detectors, and replace batteries as required.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is produced when fuels such as propane, oil, gasoline, wood, or coal are burned. Known as the ‘silent killer,’ CO is a leading cause of accidental deaths across Canada, and due to the nature of the gas, often goes undetected until it is too late. Initial symptoms of mild CO poisoning include dizziness, fatigue and nausea. Young children, the elderly and pregnant women have an increased risk of being poisoned. CO can build up to lethal levels when space heaters, or appliances intended for outdoor use are brought into areas without adequate ventilation or when vehicles are left running in an attached garage. The number of deaths from CO poisoning increases in the winter when people attempt to heat their homes using outdoor appliances during weather related power outages.
In October of 2014, Provincial legislation passed a law stating that every home in Ontario equipped with fuel burning appliances (i.e. furnaces, kitchen stoves, hot water heaters, gas/wood burning fireplaces) and attached garages require a carbon monoxide detector. Multi-dwelling units with six, or fewer residential suites are expected to comply with this law by April, 2015, and residential buildings with more than six suites are required to comply no later than October 2015. If you are a landlord, it is important to make yourself familiar with this law, as you are responsible for the installation and maintenance of these devices. As a landlord, you are also responsible for providing instructions on operating and testing CO detectors. Landlords must test detectors regularly and when there is a change in tenancy. It is the tenants’ responsibility, however, to notify the landlord should any of these devices malfunction. By law, a tenant is not allowed to disable or tamper with a CO detector. Failure to comply with Ontario CO regulations is punishable by law.
It is important to take into consideration the placement of a CO detector; CO detectors must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area (i.e a hallway leading to bedrooms). If there are bedrooms on multiple levels, detectors must be placed on each of these levels. Although the majority of these devices are plugged into a wall and operate on the house’s electrical supply, having a battery backup optimizes its performance.
For more information on CO detectors and compliance, please visit