Ontario’s CO Alarm Law


The passage of the new Carbon Monoxide (CO) law in Ontario underscores the need for every householder to consider carbon monoxide risks. The worst case scenario is homes with no CO alarms.  Homes with CO alarms that are past their optimal life span may also put occupants at risk.

Research shows that the majority of consumers are generally unaware of the dangers associated with CO.  Alarm purchases are typically associated with an incident, whether it be a tragic loss or close call.
The opportunity for the new law to make homeowners more aware of the risks, and to take a pre-emptive approach to protecting their household, are key benefits associated with the new legislation.

Homeowners that have existing CO alarms may be unknowingly relying on alarms that are past their suggested replacement date.  What is little understood by many homeowners, is that CO alarms, like smoke alarms, do not last forever whether they are battery powered or hardwired.

CO alarm lifespans are rated by the CSA, ranging from as few as five years to as long as 10 years.  All Kidde carbon monoxide alarms are rated for a 10-year life.  Combination alarms are also an excellent option. They contain both smoke and carbon monoxide sensors in a single unit, and some ‘talking models’ feature bilingual voice warnings.

While the new law calls for one working CO alarm in homes at risk of the presence of carbon monoxide, installing alarms on each level of a multi-level home offers advantages.  Experts recommends one alarm for every level of the home.  Check local CO bylaws.

Always ensure CO alarms are at least 15 feet away from cooking or heating appliances to prevent false alarms, and be sure not to cover or obstruct the unit.  If the home has only one CO alarm, install it in the main bedroom or in the hallway outside of the sleeping area.

CO alarms can be powered in a number of ways depending on the model. This includes a standard wall-plug outlet, hardwired or battery power. Homeowners should also look for models with battery backup protection which provide uninterrupted protection during power outages.

Homeowners that are unclear of the age of their CO alarm, are advised to err on the safe side and replace the unit with a new model to benefit from the latest technology and be sure to take time to read the Manual that comes with each alarm.