Protecting your family means taking care of appliances that have the potential to release harmful levels of carbon monoxide — commonly known as CO.

That means regular maintenance of gas appliances to ensure all connections and vents are properly serviced to prevent the release of CO.

However, for added protection, every home should have CO detectors installed.

The key question is where to put them.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can inflict significant brain damage and, of course, be fatal. Some symptoms of poisoning to watch for include headache; and shortness of breath at low levels to nausea, dizziness, and chest pain at high levels.

A CO detector will help you identify the cause of symptoms or wake you up if CO is released while you’re sleeping.

Here’s what to remember when placing a CO detector:

  1. Each floor of a home should have at least one CO detector.
  2. A CO detector should be installed near or in each separate sleeping area.
  3. CO detectors don’t necessarily belong on the ceiling like a smoke detector. They can be placed at knee height.
  4. CO detectors should not be placed immediately in the area of air vents.

For added protection, place a CO detector at least 15 to 20 feet away from the furnace or fuel burning heat sources. Also, install them at least 10 feet away from sources of humidity like bathrooms and showers. For homes containing a basement, consider placing a CO detector at the top of the basement stairs. Keep CO detectors out of the way of pets and children.

A little effort on your part today, can ensure the safety of your entire family for years to come.