Carbon Monoxide Safety - Kitchener Utilities
Kitchener Utilities


Carbon Monoxide Safety

Know the Signs

It is important to understand what carbon monoxide is and how you can keep your home and family safe.

  • Know the signs;
  • If detected - call 911;
  • Have appliances maintained and inspected annually;
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors.

Putting your family's safety first 

Kitchener Utilities and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) show in the below video how you can protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

What Carbon Monoxide (CO) Is

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. Low levels over long periods of time are dangerous, and high levels can cause unconsciousness and even death. To keep your indoor air clean and healthy, be sure that fuel-burning devices are well ventilated, maintained and inspected frequently.

What Causes CO Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that is produced when carbon-based fuels are incompletely burned such as: wood, propane, natural gas, heating oil, coal, kerosene, charcoal, and gasoline. Regular maintenance and inspection of your appliances can help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide in your home by making sure they are safe and working efficiently. You can read more about carbon monoxide by visiting

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Video

Kitchener Utilities and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) show how you can protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

How to Detect it

A carbon monoxide detector is the best way to detect carbon monoxide in your home. The detector will beep loudly and quickly to let you know that carbon monoxide is present and that you should evacuate the home immediately and call 911. There are also several physical and environmental signs that suggest carbon monoxide presence.

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning


  • 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 are 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.


  • Air feels stale/stuffy;
  • Excessive moisture on windows or walls;
  • Sharp penetrating odour or smell of gas when furnace or other fuel burning appliance turns on;
  • Burning and pilot light flames are yellow/orange, not blue;
  • Pilot light on the furnace or water heater goes out;
  • Chalky white powder or soot build up occurs around exhaust vent or chimney.

What to do when a leak is detected


Prevent Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

How can I protect myself and my family?

  • Install certified carbon monoxide detectors in your home, close to sleeping areas;
  • Have natural gas appliances maintained and inspected annually;
  •  Keep furnaces, vents, and chimneys clear of snow, ice, birds and nests;
  •  Never use outdoor appliances indoors.

Your natural gas appliances should be inspected annually by a TSSA certified technician to ensure they are operating safely and efficiently. 

Working Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives!

Recent changes to provincial legislation affect carbon monoxide regulations for homeowners, making CO detectors mandatory in most homes. Many residents are wondering how the regulations affect them, when they need to act, and what they need to do. To learn more about these new regulations, visit Kitchener Fire Department