Carbon Monoxide is an colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas which is toxic when inhaled in high concentrations. It is produced by burning gasoline, propane, natural gas, wood, or other fuels. If there is any blockage which does not allow for Carbon Monoxide to be vented from your home you can be exposed to high levels of this deadly gas.
Commercial Account Manager Tara McMillan found her home filling with Carbon Monoxide last month. She and her family are safe thanks to her Carbon Monoxide detector, and she wanted to share her story and experience with you with the hope it will help keep you safe in the future!
Tara: For anyone that does not have Carbon Monoxide detectors or hasn’t replaced them in a while, I want to personally remind you and share my experience.
Tara: I have a woodstove which we use during cold weather in my basement. I have a Carbon Monoxide detector right near the unit, one outside my bedrooms on the main level and a third near a gas heating stove in my living room also on the main level. I woke up on Sunday morning to loud beeping. After a couple of minutes playing with the smoke detectors I realized the beeping was coming from the Carbon Monoxide detector which normally reads “0” but was flashing at 44 and rising. After calling the fire department and expecting to hear that it was a faulty unit as it was the only one going off, it turns out that in fact my house was filling with Carbon Monoxide. The cause was determined to be a back-draft from the woodstove which had not been used in a couple of days due to the warm weather.
How do I protect myself and my family?
Ontario legislation dictates that if your home contains a fuel-burning appliance or attached garage you must have a detector outside each sleeping area. If your appliance is in a service room there must also be a detector in that service room.
Tara: Had I not had the Carbon Monoxide detector I’m not sure how long it would have taken to cause further problems than just the severe headaches and nausea that I have been having.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning can cause a range of symptoms from headache and nausea with just light exposure to unconsciousness and death within just a few breaths of high concentrations of the gas. If you are feeling inexplicably ill, check the reading on your Carbon Monoxide detectors and be sure they are functioning properly.
Tara: What’s scary is the detector right beside the woodstove did not trigger.
Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors should be replaced, according to South Bruce Fire Department, every 5 years and tested monthly. Detector batteries should be changed every 6 months.