Carbon monoxide, or CO gas, is an extremely dangerous byproduct of inefficient combustion. Colourless, scentless, and tasteless, carbon monoxide is undetectable to people; it’s also lethal. Carbon monoxide gas is created by smouldering — when a fire can’t get quite enough oxygen. Non-electric vehicles generate CO gas, and they should never be left idling in a closed garage. However, there are many other potential sources of CO around your house. Your stove, space heaters, your furnace, and even your toaster can all release carbon monoxide if they begin to malfunction.
Invest in Security.
The best way to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning is to invest in a CO detector. Many smoke alarms have built in CO detectors, and you should definitely consider upgrading your alarms if yours don’t — remember smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years either way. But it’s a good idea to have independent CO alarms even if your smoke detector is combined CO-smoke. This is because smoke alarms are usually placed up high (because smoke rises). Carbon monoxide gas doesn’t rise, so the most effective location for a CO alarm is about knee height.
There are a few locations where it’s important to have a stand-alone CO alarm. If you have an attached garage, there should be a CO alarm near (within 3-6 metres) the garage door. If you have a fireplace, you should have a CO alarm about 3-6 metres away from the hearth. You should also have a CO alarm close by (3-6 metres) from the stove. With any luck, you can find one outlet in your home that’s in the ideal position for just one alarm to monitor the garage, the stove, and the hearth. A CO detector should be no more than 10 metres from any one potential source.
Finally, there should be a CO alarm near your furnace and one in each sleeping area of your home. If the bedrooms have individual wall heaters, there should be a CO detector in each bedroom. People are most vulnerable to CO poisoning while asleep, so it’s important to take extra precaution around the sleeping area.
Prevention is Protection.
Every home should have CO alarms in key positions around the home. But your CO alarm should only be a backup for emergencies. Every year, you should have your furnace inspected by a professional to ensure that it’s in good condition and running optimally. An annual furnace inspection and maintenance doesn’t just protect your family for CO poisoning, it also helps your furnace to run more efficiently, extend its lifespan, and ensure your warranty is honoured if something goes wrong.
At Plumbing Paramedics, our team is dedicated to help Calgarians to feel comfortable and safe in their home. With summer ahead, it’s a good idea to schedule your annual furnace inspection. It’s been working hard all winter, and you’ll want to make sure it’s in perfect condition come fall. Call us today!