Carbon Monoxide Detectors


Effective Oct. 15, 2014, Ontario made carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all homes and other residential buildings.

The new regulation updates Ontario's Fire Code following the passage of

Bill 77.

These updates are based on recommendations from a Technical Advisory Committee which was led by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management and included experts from fire services, the hotel and rental housing industries, condo owners and alarm manufacturers.

Carbon monoxide alarm will now be required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall. 

-Carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that you can't see, smell or taste. It's produced by the incomplete burning of fuels like natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal or wood, due to inadequate air. Improperly installed or poorly maintained appliances that run on these fuels can create unsafe levels of CO. In enclosed spaces like your home, cottage or vehicle, even a small amount of CO is dangerous. For more information, please visit the Office of the Fire Marshal website.

What causes a CO hazard?

  • Fuel-burning appliances, venting systems and chimneys that haven’t been serviced or regularly maintained by a qualified heating contractor.
  • A chimney blocked by a bird or squirrel nest, snow and ice or other debris.
  • Improper venting of a furnace and cracked furnace heat exchangers.
  • Exhaust fumes seeping into your home from a car running in an attached garage.
  • Using fuel-burning appliances designed for the outdoors (like BBQs, lanterns, chainsaws, lawnmowers, snow-blowers) in a closed area (like a tent, recreational vehicle, cottage, garage).
  • Combustion gases spilling into a home if too much air is being consumed by a fireplace, or exhausted by a kitchen or bathroom fan, in a tightly-sealed house.

If a CO alarm is continually sounding in your home, leave your home and contact your local gas utility company or a qualified heating contractor to check your fuel-burning equipment.

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Be Aware of these Danger Signs

  • You or others in your family are feeling the symptoms of CO exposure.
  • You notice a sharp, penetrating odour or smell of gas when your furnace or fuel-burning appliance turns on.
  • The air feels stale or stuffy.
  • The pilot light of your gas furnace or other fuel-burning appliance goes out.
  • Chalky, white power forms on the chimney/exhaust vent pipe, or soot build up around the exhaust vent.
  • Excessive moisture forms on windows and walls.
  • The carbon monoxide alarm sounds.

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What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness. In severe cases, it can cause brain damage and death. Older persons, children people with heart or respiratory conditions and pets may be more sensitive to it, and feel the effects earlier than others.

If your carbon monoxide detector sounds or you believe you're suffering symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, exit the building or vehicle and call 911!