New Carbon Monoxide regulations, does it affect you?
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely and is often called the silent killer. In the home sources of carbon monoxide are:
- Heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel.
- Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage.
- Fireplaces either gas or wood.
As of October 14th 2014, it is mandatory that ALMOST ALL residential properties have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector as well as a smoke detector installed in Ontario. Any residential property with an attached garage, gas-fired appliance or fireplace must have both detectors installed. Most of the newer homes that I inspect have at least one carbon monoxide detector, but a lot of older homes do not. That is because previously the regulation was that all residences had to have smoke detectors installed (on each floor) but only residential properties built after August 6th 2001 had to have a CO detector installed. These changes are an attempt to curtail the unnecessary deaths which occur every year from carbon monoxide.
The Ontario government has given home owners in the province until April 15th 2015 if your building has less than 6 units and until October 15th 2015 if your building has more than 6. This means that most townhomes, semi-detached or detached homes will need to comply this spring.
What do you need to do to Comply?
In addition to the smoke detectors, which should already be installed on each floor and outside sleeping areas, you must now have a carbon monoxide detector next to all sleeping areas in residential home if it has:
- a gas or oil burning appliance (such as furnace or hot water tank)
- a fireplace
- a garage or attached shed ( somewhere you could store a fuel burning vehicle or tool)
In addition, any sleeping area (room) which shares a common floor or wall with a room with any of the above potential sources of CO must have an additional detector installed in that area. An example would be that if a home had a bedroom partially above a garage, that home to comply would need TWO carbon monoxide detectors, one outside the main sleeping area and one in that bedroom.
Things to Remember:
- If you are going out to purchase a CO alarm, ensure that it has a recognized testing laboratory label.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines.
- Both carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and alarms should be tested monthly.
- Keep the alarms clear of dust and other dirt which could affect performance and replaced units according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- There are three types of carbon monoxide detectors: wired, battery and plug in (usually with battery backup). All three are acceptable as long as they are located and installed properly.
- You can buy combination smoke/CO detectors which would comply.
For some this might come as a surprise or feel like an obligation. But in the end hopefully these new regulations will save lives, maybe even yours…
For more specific information about your specific situation or if you are in a multi residential unit please see Ontario Regulation 194/14 for details or call your local Fire Department.