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The KWA BlogKeeping You Informed!

Securing You And Your Home!

Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors - It's The Law!

by Larry - Knightwatch Alarms on 02/14/17

Smoke Alarms

As of March, 2006, it is the law for all Ontario homes to have a working smoke alarm on every story and outside all sleeping areas. This covers single family, semi-detached and town homes, whether owner-occupied or rented.

Where to install smoke alarms

Because smoke rises, it is recommended you place the alarms on the ceiling. Avoid ceilings near bathrooms, over cooking areas, heating appliances, windows and ceiling fans.  The smoke alarm should be installed between each sleeping area and the remainder of the building or where a sleeping area is served by a hallway, install the alarm in the hall. Always install the smoke alarm on or near the ceiling in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Maintaining Your Smoke Alarms

Dust can clog a smoke alarm, so gently vacuum alarms every six months using a soft brush. Never vacuum electrically connected alarms unless you shut off the power. Test your unit when finished cleaning. When installing, testing, and maintaining smoke alarms, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Test your smoke alarms regularly by pressing the test button or by using smoke from a smoldering incense stick.
 
Replace batteries regularly.  Install a new battery in each alarm at least once a year. All battery-operated smoke alarms are required to emit a warning sound, usually an intermittent “chirp” when the battery power is low. When warning chirp sounds, replace your battery immediately. Never wait. Change your batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.  Smoke alarms do wear out, so if you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Ontario is taking another step to keep families and homes in Ontario safe by making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all residential homes. 

The new Ontario regulation, came into effect October 15, 2014.
 

Carbon monoxide alarm will now be required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall. 

 Broadly speaking, these amendments will have the following effect:

  • Testing and maintenance requirements that apply to smoke alarm now apply to CO alarms
  • Under the Fire Code amendments, CO alarms will be required in existing residential occupancies, where:
  • Single dwelling homes (e.g., privately owned homes) have an attached storage garage and/or a fuel burning appliance.
  • CO alarms will be required only near sleeping areas of these occupancies and not throughout the entire home.
  • Multi-unit buildings (e.g., apartment buildings or condominium buildings, hotels, etc.) have an attached storage garage and/or a fuel burning appliance/service room. Within these buildings, CO alarms will only be required:
        Near sleeping areas of suites that contain a fuel burning appliance within the suite. Near sleeping areas of suites that are adjacent to a storage garage and/or service room with a fuel burning appliance.

What Are the Main Sources of Carbon Monoxide in my Home?

Wood burning/gas stoves, gas refrigerators, gasoline engines, kerosene heaters and others.


How Can I Tell if There is a Carbon Monoxide Leak in my Home?

  • Headache, nausea, burning eyes, fainting, confusion, drowsiness.
  • Often mistaken for common ailments like the flu
  • Symptoms improve when away from the home for a period of time
  • Symptoms experienced by more than one member of the household.
  • Continued exposure to higher levels may result in unconscious, brain damage and death.
  • The elderly, children and people with heart or respiratory conditions may be particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide.

Where To Install A Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Since carbon monoxide moves freely in the air, the suggested location is in or as near as possible to sleeping areas of the home. The human body is most vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide during sleeping hours. To work properly the unit must not be blocked by furniture or draperies. Carbon Monoxide is virtually the same weight as air and therefore the alarm protects you in a high or low location.

For maximum protection, a carbon monoxide alarm should be located outside primary sleeping areas, in sleeping areas and in each level of your home.


Where NOT to Install a CO Alarm

Some locations may interfere with the proper operation of the alarm and may cause false alarms or trouble signals.
CO alarms should not be installed in the following locations:
 
  • Where the temperature may drop below 4.4o C (40oF) or exceed 37.8oC (100oF).
  • Near paint thinner fumes or household cleaning products. Ensure proper ventilation when using these types of chemicals.
  • Within 1.5 meters (5 feet) of any cooking or open flame appliances such as furnaces, stoves and fireplaces.
  • In exhaust streams from gas engines, vents, flues or chimneys.
  • Do not place in close proximity to an automobile exhaust pipe; this will damage the alarm.

Maintenance

Test your carbon monoxide alarm regularly to make sure it is operating properly. The owner’s manual should tell you how to test your alarm. Remember to check the manual for information on when to buy a new carbon monoxide alarm.
 

If you have any questions regarding CO safety, please contact your local fire department or contact us at 416-398-7414

 


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