Régie du bâtiment du Québec

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This content in English is intended for individuals covered by the exceptions to the Charter of the French language and its regulations.

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Carbon monoxide detectors

The Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) recommends installing a certified carbon monoxide detector inside all public buildings and residential buildings where a solid, liquid or gaseous fuel is used. This is a responsible, efficient, simple and low-cost action to implement.

Find the sources of potential intoxication inside your dwelling

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas which is colorless, odorless and non-irritating. It is nevertheless considered a toxic gas which may even be deadly. Several appliances can emit CO, causing intoxications ranging from slight to severe, to deadly. This gas can come from:
  • heating systems, such as furnaces, fireplaces or space heaters
  • electrical appliances powered by gas or propane (ranges, BBQs, refrigerators, lamps, etc.)
  • cars and machines with combustion motor (lawn mowers, snow blowers, generators).
Even if under normal use such appliances and machines do not present any danger, carbon monoxide intoxication may occur if they operate poorly or if they are used inside a poorly ventilated area.

Avoid the worst: install a CO alarm!

A CO detector is similar to a smoke detector. It operates the same way, either with a battery or on the main power supply system, and can be purchased at a low cost in any hardware store. This safety device is designed to emit an alarm signal upon detecting the presence of this noxious gas in any health-threatening concentration. Attention! A conventional smoke alarm system does not detect the presence of carbon monoxide!

Symptoms of CO poisoning

The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the symptoms of the flu, of food poisoning or of gastroenteritis:
  • persistent headaches
  • a feeling of tension at the forehead and temples
  • tingling or reddening of the eyes
  • a feeling of fatigue and weakness
  • dizziness, nausea
  • loss of muscular control.
If you or other occupants experience these symptoms, promptly move to a well-ventilated area and verify your condition. If the symptoms persist, do seek medical help and mention that you might have been exposed to CO. A serious intoxication may lead to death in a matter of a few minutes.

CO poisoning: not a moment to lose

If your alarm activates, or if you experience the symptoms of CO gas poisoning:
  • Evacuate immediately the area where the appliance/machine is located.
  • Leave the doors open in order to thoroughly ventilate the area.
  • Shut down, if possible, the gas supply.
  • Contact the fire department of your municipality, or dial “9-1-1” and indicate to the 9-1-1 attendant the presence of CO inside your dwelling.
  • Do not return to the premises before you have received notification to do so from an expert (e.g., any qualified personnel from the fire department, or your gas dealer).
  • Before using your appliance or machine again, call upon a propane dealer, a contractor specialized in propane installations or any other person having a certificate of competence in gas installations. Such a person will proceed to make the necessary adjustments for proper combustion before reinstating the gas supply to the appliance or machine.

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