Carbon monoxide is “the silent killer” — colourless, odourless and tasteless gas you won’t be able to detect on your own. If you have a carbon monoxide detector, a beep can mean the difference between life and death.
Manitoba Hydro wants to help keep you safe. Make sure your carbon monoxide detector’s batteries are fresh, and be familiar with the manufacturer’s instructions. Test the detector periodically to make sure it’s working correctly.
While a carbon monoxide detector can warn you of the presence of CO gas, it does not prevent buildup of the gas. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can result from a faulty appliance, a clogged chimney, inadequate venting, back drafting of flue gases, or a buildup of engine exhaust in a garage.
Follow these safety precautions to minimize the risk of CO buildup in your house:
- Have your heating system checked and cleaned regularly.
- Install a fresh air intake duct into wood-burning fireplaces or stoves. If that’s not possible, leave windows open while burning wood.
- Clear blockages from external vents and chimneys.
- Never use gasoline-powered equipment in an attached garage (or in the house).
- Never use a barbecue or propane lantern in your home or garage.
Signs of carbon monoxide
When your carbon monoxide detector is working properly, a loud alarm will sound at the presence of CO gas. If you hear your carbon monoxide detector go off, you must react. It is a matter of life and death. Never unplug the detector or remove its batteries.
Other signs indicating the presence of carbon monoxide gas include:
- Stuffy, stale or smelly air,
- More than the usual amount of window condensation,
- Soot around fireplaces, chimneys, or other fuel-burning equipment;
- Back draft of fuel-burning equipment;
- Pilot lights that keep going out.
Don’t let “the silent killer” into your home — inspect your carbon monoxide detector today. For more information on CO safety, visit hydro.mb.ca or call 1-888-MB HYDRO.
Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc Public Safety & Education Coordinator, Manitoba Hydro.