Carbon monoxide (CO) is a serious and potentially deadly risk in your home throughout the year, but with the onset of cold weather months comes the increased use of furnaces, fireplaces and outdoor heaters. If not installed, serviced and maintained regularly, fuel-burning appliances can emit deadly levels of CO gas.

Have peace of mind knowing your home is a safe haven this season by following these safety tips.

  • Be aware of the hazard. CO is an invisible, odourless and poisonous gas produced by common household appliances, such as your furnace, fireplace, gas stove, propane heater, kerosene lantern and any other fuel-burning equipment.
  • Eliminate CO at the source. Get your home’s fuel-burning appliances and equipment inspected by a certified technician who works for a TSSA-registered heating contractor.
  • Install certified CO alarms, test them regularly, and replace them as required. They will warn you of rising CO levels, giving you time to take potentially life-saving action. For proper installation locations, follow manufacturer’s instructions or ask your local fire department.
  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. They are similar to the flu – nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion and drowsiness – except there is no fever. If they appear, immediately get everyone, including pets, outside to fresh air and call 911.
  • Never use fuel-burning (such as propane or kerosene) portable space heaters and outdoor heating devices in any enclosed space. This can lead to deadly CO exposure, fires and other harmful risks.

Home Heating System Maintenance

To keep your home heating system working the way it should this season, there are actions that you as the owner can take, but there are things that need to be performed by a professional.

Do it Yourself:

  • Examine the heating system for signs of deterioration, such as water stains, corrosion or leakage.
  • Clean the furnace air filters in forced-air systems frequently.
  • Keep the area around the furnace free from materials or chemicals that could catch fire or explode if they get too hot.
  • Ensure warm-air outlets and cold-air outlets are not covered or blocked by debris.
  • Make sure walls, obstructions or new renovations do not block the heating system’s air supply.

Call a Professional: 

  • If your heating system stops working, check the electrical fuse, the switch and the thermostat, and then contact a TSSA-registered fuel contractor. To find a TSSA-registered fuels contractor near you, visit
  • If snow or ice covers your outdoor gas meter, contact your fuel supplier.
  • Under no circumstances should an unqualified person tamper with or perform any work on heating systems.

Visit for more safety information.

Cheers to a safe and cozy winter season.