Carbon Monoxide Detector

Securco Services can install Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors in your home or business that work with your alarm panel. If your alarm panel is monitored, signals from the CO detector are sent to the monitoring station for quick dispatch of your local fire department in the case of an emergency.  Included below is a link to an informational article on these "life safety" devices and the peace of mind they can provide. This article is provided by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA)  For more information about carbon monoxide safety, visit their website at or contact your fire department..  *This article is reprinted with permission from the CFAA (Canadian Fire Alarm Association) magazine, May 2010 Issue. 

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and toxic gas and is often referred to as the "silent killer".  When inhaled it inhibits the blood's capacity to transport oxygen throughout the body.  It can poison the body quickly in high concentrations, or slowly over long periods of time.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? 

Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness or loss of consciousness.  In severe cases, CO poisoning can cause brain damage and death.  The elderly, children and people with heart or respiratory conditions may be particularly sensitive to CO.

How is carbon monoxide generated in the home?

Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete combustion of fuels such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline or wood.  This incomplete combustion can occur in any device that depends on burning for energy or heat, such as furnaces, room heaters, fireplaces, hot water heaters, stoves or grills and any gas-powered vehicle or engine.  Automobiles left running in attached garages, gas barbecues operated inside the house, grills or kerosene heaters that are not properly vented, or chimneys or vents that are dirty or plugged may create unsafe levels of CO.
When properly installed, maintained and vented, and Co-produced by these devices with not stay inside the home.

What are some danger signs of carbon monoxide poisoning? 

•You or other members of your family have symptoms of CO exposure (see above)
•You notice a sharp, penetrating odour or smell of gas when your furnace or other fuel-burning equipment turns on.
•The air is stale or stuffy
•The pilot light of your furnace or other fuel-burning equipment goes out.
•Chalky white powder forms on the chimney/exhaust vent pipe or soot build-up occurs around the exhaust vent.

How can unsafe levels of carbon monoxide be detected?

Carbon monoxide alarms monitor airborne concentration levels (parts per million) of carbon monoxide and sound an audible alarm when harmful CO levels are present.   Be sure that your alarm has been certified to the Canadian Standards Association CAN/CGA 6.19 standard, the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 2034 or UL 2075 standard .

If you suspect carbon monoxide in your home... 

If you are anyone in your home is experiencing the symptoms of CO poisoning, ensure that everyone leaves the home immediately, leaving the door open.  Call your local fire department or 911 from a neighbours telephone.  If you CO alarm sounds, do NOT assume it to be a false alarm.  Open all doors and windows to ventilate the home.  If you cannot find the problem and the alarm continues, contact he fire department.  If there is a strong smell of natural gas in your home, evacuate immediately, leaving the door open and contact your local gas utility.

If no symptoms are experienced, reset the alarm and check to see if it activates.  If the alarm sounds a second time, call the local fire department for their assistance.

If the alarm does not sound a second time, check for common conditions that may have cause a CO build-up or contact a qualified heating contractor to check your fuel-burning equipment.

Where should a CO alarm be located in the home?

Proper placement of a CO alarm is important.  In general, the human body is most vulnerable to the effects of CO during sleeping hours, so an alarm should be located in or as near as possible to the sleeping area of the home.

If only one alarm is being installed it should be located near the sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep.

Where sleeping areas are located in separate parts of the home, and alarm should be provided for each area.

Additional CO alarms should be placed on each level of a residence and in other rooms where combustion devices are located (such as a room that contains a solid fuel-fired appliance, gas clothes dryer or natural gas furnace), or adjacent to potential sources of CO (such as a teenager's room or granny suite located adjacent to an attached garage).

Unlike smoke, which rises to the ceiling, CO mixes with air.  Recognizing this, a CO alarm should be located at knee height (which is about the same as prone sleeping height).  Due to the possibility of tampering or damage by pets, children, vacuum cleaners, and the like, it may be located up to chest height.  To work properly, a CO alarm should not be blocked by furniture, draperies or other obstructions to normal air flow.

If a combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarm is used, it should be located on the ceiling to ensure that it will detect smoke effectively.

Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for additional information regarding proper installation, use and maintenance.

To keep safe, please remember:

•You have a responsibility to know about the dangers of carbon monoxide.  Your knowledge and actions may save lives.
•CO alarms are a good second line of defense, but do not eliminate the need for regular inspection, maintenance and safe use of fuel-burning equipment.

Some Potential Carbon Monoxide Sources in the Home

•Blocked chimney opening
•Clogged chimney
•Leaking chimney pipe or flue
•Portable heater
•Improperly installed kitchen range or cooktop vent
•Auto exhaust from attached garage
•Operating barbeque grill in enclosed area such as a garage
•Gas or wood burning fireplace
•Propane powered refrigerator
•Clothes dryer
•Corroded or disconnected water heater vent pipe
•Cracked heat exchanger

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