Ensuring the safe operation of heating and cooling equipment is our priority at Direct Energy. One area of particular concern is Carbon Monoxide.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas that can cause serious health problems if undetected. Carbon monoxide is harmful because it will rapidly accumulate in the blood, depleting the ability of blood to carry oxygen*.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?
The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be similar to flu. If you are suffering from Carbon Monoxide poisoning you may suffer from: headaches, nausea, general lethargy, dizziness, or flu-like symptoms that appear to get better when you are away from the area.
What are sources of Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide is a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels including natural gas, oil, propane and wood. In your home a fireplace or the furnace can be sources for Carbon Monoxide but if installed properly and maintained regularly, they will produce very little as a by-product. Carbon Monoxide becomes an issue if your venting becomes blocked or if your heating equipment is damaged. In the case of furnaces, a defective heat exchanger can be a source of Carbon Monoxide. The danger arises if Carbon Monoxide leaks out of a defective heat exchanger and mixes with the air that is generated by the furnace and pushed into your vents throughout your home.
How do I prevent Carbon Monoxide in my home?
The most important action you can take to detect Carbon Monoxide is ensuring you have Carbon Monoxide detectors inside your home. It is recommended to have one in your basement near heating equipment and on the main and/or second level of your home.
Here are some additional tips*:
- Have a qualified technician inspect and clean fuel-burning appliances yearly, before the cold weather sets in, to ensure they are in good working order.
- Have a qualified technician inspect chimneys and vents yearly for cracks, blockages (e.g., bird's nests, twigs, old mortar), corrosion or holes.
- Check fireplaces for closed or blocked flues.
- Check with a qualified technician before enclosing heating and hot water equipment in a smaller room, to ensure there is adequate air for proper combustion.
- Never use propane or natural gas stove tops or ovens to heat your home.
*Source: Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation website