Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Protecting Your Family

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, poisonous gas that is a by-product of appliances, heaters, and automobiles that burn gasoline, natural gas, wood, coal, or propane. If ventilation systems for these appliances are blocked or damaged, CO can build up and leak into your home. When you breathe in CO, it harms the ability of your blood to transport oxygen. Even a small amount can put you at risk of CO poisoning. 

According to Statistics Canada, between 2000 and 2013, 1,125 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

CO poisoning can be prevented. Here are 5 tips to help keep your home and family safe from carbon monoxide.

Know the risks of carbon monoxide

Anything burning fuel will produce carbon monoxide.

Low concentration symptoms:

  • Dizziness/confusion
  • Headaches
  • Chest Pain

High concentration symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and notice that they go away when you’re outside, exit your home and contact your local fire department.

Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms

Install a detector that has been certified by the Canadian Standard Association. You’ll want one on every level of your home and near your family’s sleeping area. Make sure to test the detector each month and replace the batteries as recommended by the manufacturer. Other maintenance tips include removing any visible dust. If you hear the CO alarm, immediately exit your home and contact your local fire department.

Do not run engines in a closed area

Proper ventilation is critical to avoid CO poisoning. Do not start your car or turn on your BBQ in a closed area (like a basement or garage). Carbon monoxide can quickly build up to toxic levels in small and enclosed areas.

Keep your vents clear

Make sure to regularly check all ventilation systems (like floor vents, chimneys, etc.) are clear of debris or other obstructions that could prevent CO from exiting your home.

Schedule regular maintenance

Make sure to rely on a qualified professional to install your fuel-burning devices. At least once a year, make sure to have a qualified professional inspect and clean (if necessary) these devices. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for other required maintenance.

It’s important to have the right homeowners insurance to protect the things you value most. Contact your insurance agent to make sure you have the coverage you need. Get a quote from us today!