Carbon Monoxide (CO) Safety Awareness

BC Furnace is committed to educating people about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Unfortunately, Canadians are killed in their homes every year from CO, and in many cases, these deaths are completely avoidable. Knowing the facts about CO, and taking the right preventative measures, can help keep your home & family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colourless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels.

Major Sources

CO is produced as a result of incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels including: Coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas and fuel oil.

Common Emitters

CO can be emitted by combustion sources such as:

  • Unvented kerosene
  • Gas space heaters
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Wood & gas stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Water heaters
  • Vehicle exhaust in enclosed garages
  • Tobacco smoke.

Problems can arise as a result of improper installation, maintenance, or inadequate ventilation.

What Are The Health Effects Of CO?

Carbon monoxide interferes with the distribution of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can impede coordination, worsen cardiovascular conditions, and produce fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea and dizziness. Very high levels can cause death within minutes. The symptoms are sometimes confused with the flu or food poisoning. Fetuses, children, elderly and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are particularly at high risk for the adverse health effects of CO.

Ways to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Annual service & safety inspections for heating systems, chimneys and flues.
  • Ensure that appliances are properly adjusted and working to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use.
  • Do not use ovens and gas ranges to heat your home.
  • Do not burn charcoal inside a home, tent or camper van.
  • Ensure stoves and heaters are vented to the outside and exhaust systems do not leak.
  • Do not use unvented gas or kerosene space heaters in enclosed spaces.
  • Never leave a car or lawn mower engine running inside a shed, garage or any enclosed space.
  • Make sure your boiler has adequate intake of outside air.

What if I have CO poisoning?

Don’t ignore the symptoms, especially if more than one person is feeling them. If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning, you should:

  • Get fresh air immediately
  • Open doors and windows
  • Turn off appliances and leave the house
  • Seek medical attention (call 911 if required) and tell the doctor you suspect CO poisoning

Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Is anyone in your household complaining of similar symptoms?
  • Is everyone affected experiencing similar symptoms?
  • Are you using any fuel-burning appliances in your home?
  • Has anyone inspected your appliances lately?
  • Are you certain they are working properly?

How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Help

Included in BC Furnace’s Annual Service & Safety Inspection is a free CO Alarm. CO detectors are a great tool and a solid backup. They are NOT, however, a replacement for proper use and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliance.

To help keep your home and family safe, book your inspection today – 604.415.9471

Furnace Warranties and Rebates

Most furnace manufacturers offer a 10-year parts warranty on units that have been annually serviced. To learn if you qualify for government or manufacturer cash incentives, visit our Rebates page.

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