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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Imagine that it’s the middle of the night and you and your family are deep asleep. Then the phone rings. The call is from ADT Canada telling you to evacuate everyone immediately because of high carbon monoxide levels in your home. It happened to one family and luckily, tragedy was avoided…


"I remember trying to wake up because I was so tired… Because of the storm, the wind and the snow was pounding the windows and the air intake for the boiler was blocked and that caused a lot of CO in the boiler room… We're just so thankful, we realized it could have been a tragic situation…to have a monitoring system in the house, you don't realize it, but it can actually save your life one day…" Watch the video


Did you know that carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas? It has no smell, taste or colour, which is why it's often called the silent killer. CO poisonings result in more than 50 deaths in Canada yearly1, and is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America2.


CO is a by-product of fuel-burning appliances and equipment using natural gas, oil, wood, propane or kerosene. When these fossil fuels don't get enough air to burn completely, carbon monoxide levels increase.


Because of all the different fuels that produce carbon monoxide, it is estimated 88%1 of all homes have something that poses a CO threat, including your:

  • Furnace

  • Fireplace

  • Fuel-burning space heater

  • Gas water heater

  • Gas stove

  • Gas dryer

  • Portable generator

  • Gas barbecue


The risk for CO poisoning is always present, but it rises in winter, when windows are closed and vents can become covered with ice and snow, causing dangerous levels of CO to build up. This can lead to drowsiness, nausea, unconsciousness and, ultimately, death.

Symptoms of CO poisoning:

When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it replaces oxygen in your bloodstream. Large amounts of CO can overcome you in a very short time, causing you to lose consciousness in just 1 hour3. Smaller amounts can be just as dangerous. Sudden chest pain may occur in individuals with heart conditions. It can also mimic the flu, with symptoms such as headache, fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Whereas going to bed is a good idea for the flu, it could lead to death in the case of CO poisoning.

Top 4 tips to help prevent CO poisoning:

  • Yearly maintenance of heating systems, your fireplace and other fuel-burning appliances. For example, a fireplace may seem fine at first glance, but if birds have built nests in your chimney, that can cause venting problems.

  • Never operate a gas barbecue indoors or leave a car running in your garage. Even if a garage door is open, carbon monoxide can leak into your house.

  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home

  • Install monitored carbon monoxide detectors.


Where to place carbon monoxide detectors:

CO detectors should be placed strategically in your home.

  • Near bedrooms

  • On every floor – especially if your furnace is in your basement

  • If you have a gas dryer, place one in your laundry room

  • In the garage


Carbon monoxide detectors are only effective if they are in good working order! Change your batteries at least twice a year. Some people find it helpful to use the spring and fall daylight saving time change as a reminder to verify and change the batteries.

A monitored carbon monoxide detector from ADT Canada is your best weapon.

Monitored CO detectors from ADT Canada provide additional peace of mind by adding enhanced protection when you cannot respond to an alarm, such as when you are sleeping, are away from home, or when carbon monoxide is already affecting you. The ADT Canada advantages are:

  • 3 ULC-certified monitoring centres, operating 24/7 coast to coast. ADT is always there for you.

  • Prompt notifications. If your carbon monoxide detector in your home is triggered, we will contact you so that you know to evacuate your home.

  • Emergency contact and dispatch. If your home or family are in danger, or you are unresponsive, we’ll alert emergency response services.

  • Security is our primary business. With over 125 years’ experience, we protect what matters most to Canadians.


Call 877.ADT.ASAP to learn more about a monitored CO detector from ADT Canada, the most trusted name and employees in the security industry.



1. Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs

2. 2016 TSSA - CO Safety

3. Canadian Safety Equipmenty