Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, toxic gas that enters the body through the lungs during the normal breathing process. It replaces oxygen in the blood and prevents the flow of oxygen to the heart, brain and other vital organs.

Hundreds of Canadians are hospitalized every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, many of whom are permanently disabled. Everyone is at risk – 88% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

If you feel that you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning you should call 911 and get proper medical attention. Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Flu-like symptoms

If these symptoms are less severe when you are outside of the home, it may be a sign of a carbon monoxide problem in the house.

What do I do if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?

  1. Get everyone outdoors immediately
  2. Call 911 from a safe location
  3. Keep all windows and doors closed to allow for an accurate reading of carbon monoxide levels

What are the main sources of carbon monoxide in my home?

  • Fuel-burning appliances like gas stoves, gas furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces, kerosene heaters, barbeques, and generators
  • Cars warming up in your garage

Pitcure showing sources of carbon monoxide

How can I protect my family at home?

  • Install and maintain working carbon monoxide alarms by every sleeping area in your home
  • Check that all outside appliance vents are not blocked
  • Never use a portable fuel-burning applicant inside (e.g. barbeques, portable heaters, and generators)

Landlord and tenant responsibilities

Landlords must:

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with the Ontario Fire Code
  • Maintain carbon monoxide alarms in operating condition
  • Maintain primary and secondary power supplies that serve carbon monoxide alarms
  • Provide the tenant a copy of the manufacturer's maintenance instructions
  • Same is true for smoke alarms

Tenants must:

  • Not disable the carbon monoxide alarm
  • Notify the landlord as soon as you are aware your carbon monoxide alarm is not working
  • Same is true for smoke alarms.


Refer to Office of the Fire Marshal Guideline