carbon monoxide detectorsCarbon monoxide is a colourless, odorless and tasteless gas that is toxic to humans in concentrations higher than 35 ppm (parts per billion). A new law came into effect in Ontario last week making carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in all Ontario homes. Before we dive into the details, let’s get educated about this toxic gas and how it can be produced in your home.

What is Carbon Monoxide & How is it Created?

Carbon monoxide is formed when there is incomplete combustion or not enough oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. Many things in our modern day households can produce carbon monoxide when not working properly, such as: gas or oil appliances like a furnace, clothes dryer, stove, water heater or space heater.

The most common conditions that cause CO levels to rise are:

  • Appliances have malfunctioned
  • Vent, flue or chimney is blocked by debris or snow
  • Fireplace, wood burning stove, charcoal grill or other source of burning material is not properly vented
  • A vehicle is left running in an attached garage

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning results from the inhalation of too much carbon monoxide. Symptoms include: dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion and blurred vision. On average over 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, and approximately 11 of those deaths occur in Ontario.

What are the New Laws about Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

Bill 77 is a result of the tragic deaths of Laurie Hawkins and her family after a carbon monoxide leak in their home in December 2007. Named the Hawkins-Gignac Act, the Bill requires detectors near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in service rooms and near sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Here are some safety tips from the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation:

  • Install at least one CSA-6.19.01 approved carbon monoxide detector outside bedrooms. However, it is advised to install one on every floor.
  • Check the expiry date of existing detectors and replace any devices built before 2008. Depending on the brand, alarms need to be replaced every 7-10 years.
  • Have a licensed technician inspect your fuel burning appliances (furnace, range, hot water heater, fireplace, etc.) annually to ensure they are in good working order and vented properly.
  • Help older relatives inspect their detectors.
  • When a detector sounds, make sure everyone (including pets!) gets out of the house and call 911. Don’t delay clearing out as exposure to carbon monoxide reduces a person’s ability to think clearly.

As with smoke detectors, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that the household is in compliance with these new regulations. Carbon monoxide detectors range in price from $30 for plug in models to $110 for hardwired combination smoke & carbon monoxide detectors. You can find them at any local hardware store.

We hope that this information will help you to better understand the dangers of carbon monoxide and make sure that your family is safe! For any questions about carbon monoxide detectors or the Barrie real estate market please contact us, we’re here to help!


The Peggy Hill Team