Carbon Monoxide Detection 101: What You Need to Know

A few weeks ago, a school in LaSalle had to be evacuated due to carbon monoxide poisoning. 43 people, adults and children, were taken to hospital for treatment. It appears unclear whether the school had a carbon monoxide alarm or whether it was functioning. What is clear in either case is that the threat of carbon monoxide, known as the silent killer, is still very much a concern. The good news is that a carbon monoxide alarm is a cheap and easy solution to the problem.

Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas that can be fatal if it is breathed by humans and animals. It is produced when fossil fuel is burned.  Homes with oil or gas heating systems, fireplaces or wood burning stoves or other appliances, as well as garages that are attached to the house, are all at risk. While each of these has built in methods for releasing the gas safely, things can and do go wrong.

Carbon monoxide can be emitted by fuel- burning appliances that have not been installed properly, by blocked chimneys, vehicle and generators that are running in a garage, a cracked or loose furnace exchanger or by other sources. As it is odourless and colourless, it is difficult to know if there is a leak until it is too late.

The first symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning is often a headache. Other symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, nausea and unconsciousness. Symptoms can be mistaken for the flu or a virus.

Fireplaces are still allowed in certain parts of the greater Montreal area. If you have a fireplace, make sure to have the chimney swept annually to remove any blockages like a bird’s nest and keep vents and flues clear.

We recommend that any home with a fireplace, fuel-burning appliance or heater, or attached garage should have a carbon monoxide alarm. To make sure you are protected, there are some recommended guidelines about installing them.

Install near sleeping area

If you only have one carbon monoxide alarm, make sure it is installed in the main bedroom or in the hallway outside the bedrooms. People are most vulnerable when they are sleeping.

Five feet above the ground

Carbon monoxide gas is lighter than the air we breathe. It will rise so an alarm should be installed at least five feet above the ground.

Install near the garage

Cars that are left running in the garage, even for a short time, will create carbon monoxide. The levels in the home can rise quickly simply by opening the door between the garage and your home so installing an alarm near the garage is a wise move.

Install one on every floor

Ideally, your whole home should be protected and the best way to do this is to install one on every level of your home, including your basement. Even if your basement is unfinished or you don’t go down there often, it is often where the heating system is located. You want to make sure there is no leak that can lead to a build up of gas.

Avoid sun and humidity

Moisture and humidity can interfere with the sensors on an alarm and diminish their accuracy. You should avoid placing your alarm near bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and the like. Direct sunlight should also be avoided.

Replace old alarms

The average lifespan of an alarm is between 5 and 7 years, although some may last up to 10 years. When they get old, the sensors are not as accurate. Most alarms have a warning that will start to sound when it is time to replace them. Make sure to replace them when needed.

Do not ignore the alarm

If your alarm goes off, take it seriously. Open your doors and windows immediately to allow fresh air to enter. Turn off all your fuel burning appliances and heaters. If you have gas appliances, avoid smoking, striking a match, or switching on the lights. Call 911 if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

Prevention is always to best way to go. A carbon monoxide alarm is an effective and inexpensive way to guard your home. At Mose Home Inspection, our goal is to provide you with everything you need to know about your home. Rest assured that you can always call our office for questions regarding your home.

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Lay Chan Wee
Lay Chan Wee
01:19 31 Aug 21
I was impressed with the service provided by Rui Su. He was organized, explained in detail area that I am not familiar... with. He provided a good report. I will recommend him if you need home inspection.read more
Mary Jane Caro
Mary Jane Caro
14:25 27 Aug 21
I am always pleased to recommend Carol Mose from Mose Home Inspection Services to my clients who have had offers... accepted on residential real estate properties. She is knowledgeable, thorough, provides clear explanations, and delivers comprehensive reports.read more
Massimo Pannunzio
Massimo Pannunzio
22:05 25 Aug 21
Michael has got to be on of the best home inspectors in all of Quebec. It was amazing working with him and he had my... best interest at heart when making a life changing decision. He made sure I had all the answers and made it easy to work with him. I will be using Mose inspection for any moment that I need an inspection done that's for sure!read more
Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee
19:14 16 Jun 21
Amazing experience with Carol Mose who helped me with a pre-purchase inspection! She was very approachable and... observant, and informed me of all her first impressions on-site. This gave me greater understanding of any conditions as I was able to ask any quick questions on the spot. Her reports are the most thorough that I've seen and include diagrams to help explain what any physical signs mean and potential consequences. Could not have asked for a better inspector!read more
Maeghan Banks
Maeghan Banks
15:38 14 Jun 21
Carol was wonderful to work with for our pre-purchase inspection. She was professional, thorough and communicative,... taking the time to explain her findings as we went through the house. After the inspection, we felt we had clear knowledge of the condition of the house (both pros and cons), allowing us to move forward with the purchase with confidence. Highly recommend!read more
Ryan Chalupovitsch
Ryan Chalupovitsch
13:43 01 Jun 21
Carol Mose is the best home inspector in the business. Approachable and extremely knowledgeable. She did an... inspection for me and really took the time to explain her findings and help me understand the home I was looking to purchase. Cannot recommend her enough. Don’t hesitate.read more
Elisabeth Faure
Elisabeth Faure
21:16 29 Apr 21
This is the second time I have used MOSE, and they are always really amazing. Very nice, very professional. they came... to have a look at my roof and let me know if we were due for a repair - I was very satisfied with everything and would recommend them to anybody!read more
Hannah S
Hannah S
22:05 16 Apr 21
I had a great experience with Mose home inspection. My husband and I are first time homebuyers and so had a ton of... questions about the process. Everyone we talked with was really informative and helpful. Michael was our inspector and was phenomenal. The inspection was very thorough and he explained everything in detail with realistic next steps for us to take. We came out of the inspection feeling really informed. Plus, he is just an absolute delight! He had very contagious enthusiasm and made the inspection a really positive experience. Would highly recommend!read more
Gabriel Lukuc
Gabriel Lukuc
03:05 16 Apr 21
Michael was amazing. He took the time to explain to us what’s really important and the reasoning behind it. We’re not... very handy nor savvy when it comes to home construction so we really appreciate him taking the time to explain to us all aspects of the inspection. Also, Michael was friendly, professional and timely; he provided the report over a holiday and a weekend.read more
Stephanie Ballard
Stephanie Ballard
14:24 19 Mar 21
MOSE is the best in the business. Once again we were happy with their inspection services - they are professional,... friendly and knowledgeable. Would not hesitate to recommend to friends and family (and have)!read more
Rodrigo Morales
Rodrigo Morales
18:27 10 Sep 20
Home inspection
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