I am often asked what is the most important electrical upgrade to a home. After almost four decades in the trade I have the definitive answer. This little story explains.
One winter’s evening, we received a call from the tenants of a building we manage. They wanted us to know that the fire department, gas company and the paramedics were on the way because the smoke and CO system went off.
When we arrived at the building the occupants were being checked out by the paramedics, the firemen had detected high levels of carbon monoxide. They pinpointed the issue and had to lock off the furnace. They got busy clearing the air in the building so the folks could return.
The reason was that a joint in a pipe that exhausts the furnace had come apart and the building filled with carbon monoxide. It was a fault that even bi-annual preventative maintenance could not have prevented.
Without an up-to-date and interconnected smoke and CO system to alert ALL of the occupants that a dangerous situation existed, the situation would have been a deadly tragedy.
Smoke detection rules have evolved from none, to a single unit outside the bedrooms, to interconnected units on all levels, to combination units on each level and now to the latest, which requires units in all bedrooms as well in the common areas on each level (including crawlspaces).
The Ontario Building Code now requires visual signalling to protect the hearing impaired as of January 1, 2015.
Smoke and CO systems are now required by law in Ontario
Forget the big screen TV, hot tub or kitchen remodelling until the smoke and CO system is in order. Pretty hard to watch, soak or eat if the building has burned down or CO has silently killed.