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How to Prevent CO Poisoning at Home

You might not think that there could be a downside to our generation’s tightly insulated, more energy efficient homes, but that isn’t quite the case. Lack of proper house ventilation has become an increasing concern, particularly when it comes to carbon monoxide.

The problem lies in the fact that our tightly insulated homes don’t allow for what was once the natural release of carbon monoxide pollution. Pair that with the fact that CO is odourless, colourless, and that symptoms of CO poisoning can merely seem like a case of the flu, and you have a definite cause for concern.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide

There are a variety of ways in which carbon monoxide enters the home. As it is a by-product of the burning of fuel, any gas-powered household appliance can be a source of CO in the home. These appliances include gas ranges, water heaters (including tankless heaters), gas clothes dryers, fireplaces, gas or oil furnaces. Even gas-powered yard tools like mowers or chainsaws can contribute to the presence of CO in the home, if left running in an attached garage.

How to Prevent CO Poisoning at Home

There are several ways to prevent CO poisoning in your home, but the first and most important line of defense is to install a CO detector in your home! This detector should either be battery-operated or battery backed-up. The battery involvement is important, because it ensures that your detector will remain operational in the event of a power outage.

Of course, you’ll need to ensure that the batteries are changed regularly (usually when you change the clocks for daylight savings, along with your smoke detector). You also need to replace your detector every 5 years.

The ideal placement for your CO detector is anywhere that its alarm is certain to wake you up. Ideally, this would be outside of your bedroom.

Some Other Ways to Prevent CO Poisoning at Home

  • Have Your HVAC system serviced every year
  • Ensure proper ventilation for all gas appliances
  • Don’t DIY! Ensure that you gas appliance has been correctly installed by a pro.


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