Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week
Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is a good reminder CO alarms are now mandatory in all homes and other residential buildings.
Carbon Monoxide 101
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood have insufficient air to burn completely. This can happen in any appliance or device that burns these fuels such as a stove, furnace, fireplace, hot water heater, vehicle engine, portable generator, etc.
Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. In high concentrations, it can be fatal.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
CO alarms and smoke alarms are two important safety features that help keep our families safe.
CO alarms range in price from approximately $26 to over $100 depending on whether they are hard-wired, battery operated or plug-in and whether they have additional features (i.e. battery back-up, digital display, etc.). The average mid-range plug-in/battery back-up model is between $35 and $40 per unit.
CO safety is a shared responsibility. Ontarians will be encouraged to learn about the risks associated with CO inhalation and install and maintain CO alarms as required by the new regulation. Homeowners and landlords are now obligated to install CO alarms.
All homeowners who have existing CO alarms must comply with the maintenance requirements effective Oct. 15, 2014. Homeowners may have an existing CO alarm in their homes because it was installed to meet the 2001 Building Code, a municipal bylaw, or because he/she wanted one in their home for their own safety. These new changes now make sure homeowners keep the CO alarm in good working order according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Single-family homeowners and owners of residential buildings that contain no more than six suites have until April 15, 2015, to comply with the law’s installation and replacement requirements. Owners of residential buildings with more than six suites have until Oct. 15, 2015 to comply.
Bill 77 (Hawkins Gignac Act [Carbon Monoxide Safety], 2013)
Bill 77 (Hawkins Gignac Act [Carbon Monoxide Safety], 2013), amended the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, to allow the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to require the use of CO alarms. The Ontario Fire Code, a regulation established under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, has now been amended to include requirements to lessen the risk created by the presence of unsafe levels of CO.