During a home inspection, we often discover missing Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors we list it as a safety concern in the inspection report. It’s troubling because it is a very serious problem with no warning signs, perhaps a matter of life or death.
Winters on Prince Edward Island can be cold and how you heat your home can put you at risk. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is colorless and odorless and dangerous at levels measured in parts per million. Created by incomplete combustion of fuels such as home Heating Oil, Propane and Wood. Carbon Monoxide is often called the silent killer and for good reason. Between 2001 and 2003 over 480 people in the US died from non fire related carbon monoxide poisoning. In Ontario from 2001 to 2007, 74 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
When you breath in CO it displaces the oxygen in your blood cells and unlike CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) your cells never releases the CO molecule. That cell and all the others that come into contact with CO will never again carry oxygen to your body until the cell dies and is replaced. Vital organs are the most affected such as your brain, heart and lungs. Children, older people and those with heart and lung problems are most at risk.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself And Your Family?
The first step is to ensure that your fuel burning appliances are installed properly and maintained this includes…
Propane Ovens and Stove tops
Never let your car run or use a generator inside an attached garage. Never use a BBQ inside your home.
A Carbon Monoxide detector is the easiest way to ensure your family’s safety, place them outside of sleeping areas and one on each floor.
Follow the instructions on the packaging and never put the detector beside or above fuel burning appliances, near stoves or ovens or anywhere blowing air may keep CO from setting on the detector.
If you hear the CO detector sound then leave the house right away and call 911 the fire department can test and give the all clear, remember to bring your pets too.
Dunn Right Inspections urges every homeowner to get a CO detector test it every month and check that the batteries are working.