Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke Alarms

  • The single most important tool toward combating loss of life due to fires
  • These simple yet cost effective alarms have saved countless lives and millions of dollars in property loss
  • The installation and maintenance of these devices is essential in protecting your family
  • The design, practice and use of a very basic home evacuation plan in the event of a fire may be the difference between life and death
  • A working smoke alarm on every level of your home is required by Ontario law
    • The Ontario Building Code requires newer homes to have smoke alarms in all bedrooms
    • The fire department strongly advises the installation of smoke alarms in bedrooms of all homes as well
    • Always install the smoke alarm on or near the ceiling in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions

Smoke alarms must be maintained as per the manufacturers instructions. Various models are available to include:

  • limited battery life
  • life of the alarm batteries
  • hardwired to your household electric wiring
  • or a combination of both

If you have a battery-operated alarm, change batteries with the seasons of Spring and Fall. Easy to remember as you put your clocks forward and back.
 

Smoke Alarms - Landlords and Tenants

Landlords are:

  • Responsible for installing and maintaining Smoke alarms in their rental units
  • Required to test Smoke alarms in rental units annually and when changes are made to the electric circuit or a change of tenancy occurs
  • Required to provide tenants with smoke alarm maintenance instructions

Tenants:

  • Must not remove the batteries or tamper with Smoke alarms in any way
  • Required to inform the Landlord when a smoke alarm is disconnected, not working, or the operation has been impaired in any way

Smoke alarms must be tested every month by pressing the test button. Any person who disables a smoke alarm will be charged under the Provincial Offences Act.
 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It is produced by gas or oil furnaces, space and water heaters, clothes dryers, ovens, wood stoves and other household appliances that run on fuels such as wood, gas, oil or coal. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America. Over 80% of CO-related injuries and deaths in Ontario occur in the home.

When you inhale CO, it can cause brain damage, suffocation or death. Because you cannot see, smell or taste this deadly gas, poisoning can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Everyone is at risk but pregnant women, young children, senior citizens and people with heart and lung problems are at greater risk.

CO poisoning and the flu seem a lot alike at first. Early warning signs of low-level poisoning include tiredness, headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and shortness of breath. Your skin may also turn pink or red. If you experience any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and should call 9-1-1.

Requirements:

  • If your home has a fuel-burning appliance (e.g., furnace, hot water tank, portable gas heaters, stove), a fireplace or an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide alarm adjacent to each sleeping area
  • If there is a fuel-burning appliance in your condo/apartment, install a carbon monoxide alarm adjacent to each sleeping area
  • If your building has a service room, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in the service room and adjacent to each sleeping area above, below and beside the service room
  • If your building has a garage, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area above, below and beside the garage
  • For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of the home according to manufacturer’s instructions

“adjacent to each sleeping area” means the hallway serving or area outside the sleeping area. For instance, a CO alarm must be installed in the hallway adjacent to multiple bedrooms in a house or apartment. However, there may be situations where “adjacent to each sleeping area” refers to the area around the bed, within the bedroom or sleeping area itself.

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
  • Additionally, have a qualified service technician inspect and clean your fuel-burning appliances, furnace, vent pipe and chimney flues once a year. Bird’s nests, twigs and old mortar in chimneys can block proper ventilation and lead to build-up of carbon monoxide gas in the home.
     

Carbon Monoxide Alarms - Landlords and Tenants

Landlords are:

  • Responsible for installing and maintaining CO alarms in their rental units
  • Required to test CO alarms in rental units annually and when the battery is replaced, changes are made to the electric circuit or a change of tenancy occurs

Tenants:

  • It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with CO alarms in any way

Test CO alarms every month by pressing the test button. Replace batteries every year. Replace CO alarms according to manufacturer's instructions.

The Ministry of Community Safety adn Correctional Services has more information available on carbon monoxide safety and smoke alarms.

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