SaskPower reminds customers of ways they can protect themselves from carbon monoxide in their homes and businesses, in light of several recent incidents in the province involving the deadly gas.
"The first thing customers should do is make sure any gas appliances like water heaters or ranges are serviced and operating properly," said Douglas Hird, Senior Engineer of Gas Codes and Standards for SaskPower. "In two recent incidents, portable air conditioning units were installed incorrectly, so there was a continuous exhaust of the warm air to the outside without an air pipe to bring in fresh air."
This condition is known as "depressurization" and occurs when inside air is exhausted faster than outside fresh air can come in. Excessive depressurization will cause a natural draft water heater to backdraft, spilling carbon monoxide into the home.
"Natural draft water heaters and furnaces need sufficient fresh air," said Hird. "Customers need to make sure there is a properly functioning fresh air intake installed. Fresh air intakes can become clogged or they are sometimes blocked by homeowners who are unaware of their important purpose."
To help alert customers to the presence of carbon monoxide, SaskPower recommends the installation of carbon monoxide detectors. Look for a detector that is listed with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or the Underwriters Laboratory of Canada (ULC). Check the expiry date on detectors as they need to be replaced periodically. While detectors are a good safety backup, they aren't a proper substitute for regular maintenance of home heating and cooling equipment.
SaskPower has developed a series of safety brochures that contain information about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. This information is available at all SaskPower offices or online at saskpower.com/safety.