Avoiding Exposure to Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

Published on November 04, 2020

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week focusing on ways to keep safe

October 30, 2020

Solicitor General

TORONTO — To mark Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2020, Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal is encouraging everyone to test their carbon monoxide alarms and ensure all fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and outside vents in their home are inspected annually to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

"Carbon Monoxide Week serves as an excellent reminder to test and check the carbon monoxide alarms in our homes to ensure they are working properly," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "With the onset of cooler weather and people spending more time indoors, it's imperative that we take preventative steps to avoid the danger related to carbon monoxide to protect our loved ones."

Here is how you can protect yourself from the dangers of carbon monoxide:

  • Look for signs of exposure which could include flu-like symptoms - headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and in extreme cases, death.
  • If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, get everyone out of the home and into fresh air, and call 9-1-1.
  • Read the manufacturer's instructions for your carbon monoxide alarms to know the difference between the sound of an alarm and the sound of a low battery or end of life warning. Test your alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the sound of each alarm.
  • Never run small engines or operate barbecues indoors as they can produce a lethal amount of carbon monoxide.
  • When using a generator, ensure it is placed outdoors in a well-ventilated area.

In Ontario, the law requires that carbon monoxide alarms be installed outside all sleeping areas of homes with a fuel-burning appliance like a gas furnace, a fireplace or an attached garage. Installing carbon monoxide alarms on every level of a home provides added protection.

"It's essential to have all fuel-burning appliances inspected by a registered contractor to check for leaks and ensure there is no build-up of carbon monoxide happening," said Ontario Fire Marshal Jon Pegg. "Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because it is an invisible, tasteless and odourless gas that can be deadly, and only carbon monoxide alarms can detect the presence of this lethal gas. Install alarms in your home and test them monthly."

Quick Facts

  • Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2020 runs from November 1 to 7.
  • In Ontario, more than 65 per cent of injuries and deaths from carbon monoxide occur in the home.
  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colourless, tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air.
  • Open fires, boilers and cookers all produce carbon monoxide.
  • If you live in a condo or apartment building with a service room, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in the service room and in each suite or sleeping room adjacent to the service room.

Additional Resources