The northern part of the United States can get frigid during the winter season, but the northern part of our country is only the southern part of our neighbor to the North. The U.S. may know their furnaces and how to stay warm during winter, but our Canadian neighbors are experts at it.

Heating can be a life or death situation in Canada, but all those furnaces running can create dangerous situations like house fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Though house fires get most of the attention CO poisoning is a real danger too. Canadian energy provider SaskPower’s chief gas inspector, Syed Asif Ali, spoke to a Saskatchewan news outlet to offer tips on avoiding this deadly situation, tips that Americans can use this winter too.

Though some American municipalities, cities, and states now must CO detectors in new construction, Ali recommends every home install CO detectors regardless if they’re required or not. Ali points to CO detectors as the best way to protect yourself and your family because unlike fire, there is no obvious signal that you have a CO issue.

“It’s colorless, odorless; you don’t even come to know that it is there,” he says. Ali states that only one percent of air needs to contain carbon monoxide for the gas to turn deadly.

Homeowners should also be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning which include lethargy, dizziness, confusion, headache, and blacking out. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble symptoms of seasonal illness but set in much more quickly. CO sensors installed near every bedroom can help alert homeowners to dangerous CO levels and allow them to leave home before the situation becomes hazardous.

Even if you have CO sensors installed and running, Ali recommends a yearly inspection of your HVAC system to prevent any issues that would cause carbon monoxide poisoning to begin with.

“The No. 1 cause of carbon monoxide poisoning is poor maintenance of your heating system,” he said. Ali recommends checking your home’s ventilation to be certain exhaust is being let off where it should be and not venting back into the home.

Winter’s colder temperatures across both the U.S. and Canada means millions of residents are turning their HVAC systems on but also turning on the dangers of home fire and CO poisoning. Residents should install CO detectors outside of every bedroom and have their HVAC system inspected at least once a year to keep themselves safe, and their HVAC systems are running properly.

Make sure to maintain and replace your HVAC systems as necessary. Front Range HVAC can help ensure you’re not putting yourself or your family at risk. Call us today.