10 Myths about Carbon Monoxide


As you may or may not have heard, carbon monoxide detectors/alarms are now mandatory in households across Ontario. As mentioned in our previous blog seen HERE. The top 10 myths and misconceptions about carbon monoxide are listed below for your safety:

  • MYTH Carbon monoxide can be dangerous at high levels but is normally harmless.
  • TRUTH Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is dangerous at any level. It’s created when fuels like oil, wood and gas burn. Normally, the small amounts caused by our heating equipment are vented to the outside and do not build up inside. However, this could change with a blockage, bumped pipe, dust build up, or something may have even fallen on your heating equipment and damaged it.
  • MYTH Carbon monoxide has a distinctive odour you can smell.
  • TRUTH Carbon monoxide is odourless, colourless, tasteless hence why it is known as the “Silent Killer”
  • MYTH Carbon monoxide problems are caused by old heating systems.
  • TRUTH Carbon monoxide builds when the air circulating through our homes and heating systems doesn’t get vented properly. Venting problems such as birds building nests in chimneys can happen in homes of any age.
  • MYTH Fuel burning equipment like furnaces and fireplaces should be inspected every two to three years to make sure it’s safe.
  • TRUTH Heating systems (oil or gas furnaces, gas or wood fireplaces, wood burning and gas stoves, chimneys) should be checked every year by a certified heating technician before the heating season begins.
  • MYTH It’s ok to use a gas or charcoal barbecue or run a car in a garage as long as the garage door is open.
  • TRUTH There’s always the risk that carbon monoxide will leak into the house, even if the garage door is open
  • MYTH There are no physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • TRUTH Carbon monoxide poisoning has symptoms that are similar to the flu: nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. The key difference is that there is no fever with CO poisoning. The symptoms tend to disappear when a person gets fresh air. These are all warning signs.
  • MYTH You should only call 911 if your carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off after you’ve opened the windows and doors.
  • TRUTH If anyone feels ill, get everyone, including your pets, out of the house regardless if the alarm is sounding or not. Call 911 or your local fire department for help. Once the source of the carbon monoxide is found – stay out of your home until repairs are complete. If no one is ill, ventilate the building by opening all windows and doors. Reset the alarm. If it continues to sound, call a certified heating technician to check for carbon monoxide.
  • MYTH Certain levels of carbon monoxide can kill, but survivors can expect a complete recovery.
  • TRUTH Many victims of carbon monoxide poisoning recover with treatment. However, in severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent brain damage.
  • MYTH The best way to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a CO alarm in your home.
  • TRUTH The first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is prevention through annual inspections of your home heating equipment, including vents and chimneys. Alarms are a good second line of defense and every home should have one or more. Recommended one on each floor.
  • MYTH All carbon monoxide alarms sold in Canada are certified to Canadian Safety standards.
  • TRUTH Not all carbon monoxide alarms sold in Canada are certified to Canada Safety standards. To make sure you’re buying one that is certified, look for the CSA or ULC symbols.

If you have any questions, concerns or require additional information please feel free to contact us at any of the sources provided. info@hoggmechanical.com, 519.579.5330, Twitter @HoggMechanical, Facebook Hogg Heating & Air Conditioning

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