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Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

With the official start of winter only a few days away, everyone has already started up their heating appliances this time of year. From wood stoves to fireplaces, these heating systems are probably running right now due to the chilly temperatures that the lower Hudson Valley area has seen this year so far. While these units work hard to keep us warm in the winter, they also come with some risks. One of the most dangerous hazards is known as carbon monoxide.

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Any time combustion occurs, tiny molecules of carbon monoxide form in high concentrations. Fuels of any kind can produce carbon monoxide, as long as combustion takes place. Therefore, charcoal grills, wood stoves, lanterns and car exhausts all release carbon monoxide into the air. For this reason, each of these appliances should never be used inside without properly venting it, like a wood stove with a chimney. Otherwise, the space can fill quickly with carbon monoxide and you may not realize it until it is too late. Carbon monoxide has no color, smell or taste, so the only way to know it is present is with a special carbon monoxide detector. Relying on the detector and its batteries has its own risks, so the best way to prevent danger is by keeping your heating appliances serviced and up to date.

Carbon monoxide poisoning becomes evident with issues like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea and even unconsciousness. Eventually, the organs will begin to fail and death could ensue if the body receives no fresh air. At the very first sign of poisoning, you must move everyone from the space to an open outdoor area, and then call for emergency help from there. Failure to remove yourself from the enclosed space could result in unconsciousness, which makes survival much less likely.

This tiny molecule deserves respect and must be treated as the large health threat that it is. Maintaining your fireplace and stove is a good start to avoiding the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Every time the fireplace or stove burns, it continuously emits carbon monoxide. For this reason, it is imperative that the chimney is free of any obstructions. Built up creosote or even animals and nests can stop or dangerously slow the movement of vapors in the chimney, so have a chimney expert out at least once every year to sweep and inspect the chimney. Also ask to have a chimney cap installed to prevent animals from nesting inside the chimney. Another good measure to take is burning only well seasoned wood, which cuts down on the production of creosote, the thick and tarry material that can build up in the chimney.

Protect your home and family from the dangers of carbon monoxide. Simply have your local chimney specialist sweep and inspect your chimney at least once every year. If you live in the lower Hudson Valley area, trust your chimney to All Seasons Chimney. These professionals can help ensure a warm, safe home this winter.

All About Carbon Monoxide

All About Carbon Monoxide

One of the more dangerous by-products of combustion, carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas you do not want entering your home through your chimney and fireplace. Also known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide has no odor or color, so it can be impossible to know if you have a high level of carbon monoxide without a detector installed in your home. Most often, the first sign to the presence of this toxic gas in your house is the development of flu-like symptoms in members of your household, the first sign of carbon monoxide poisoning. All Seasons Chimney knows how to prevent carbon monoxide from even getting into your home and how to repair the damage causing the leaks of this gas. We would like to inform you about carbon monoxide and its dangers, with the help of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

It is called the "silent killer," because only a detector installed in your home can let you know it is present.

It is called the “silent killer,” because only a detector installed in your home can let you know it is present.

According to the CSIA, carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for the deaths of over 200 Americans every year, and approximately 10,000 injuries due to inhaling carbon monoxide are diagnosed annually. However, the symptoms of early exposure to carbon monoxide are extremely similar to those of the common cold and/or flu, such as sneezing, coughing, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue, and people can go for months without being officially diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning. If a person is exposed to carbon monoxide for a long enough period of time before being diagnosed, serious health issues can occur, such as brain damage and damage to the heart and other internal organs. If you ever develop long-term flu-like symptoms that linger, ask your doctor to give you a blood test that will check for carbon monoxide levels in your blood to properly diagnose you.

Why is carbon monoxide poisoning on the rise? Homes today are so much more airtight as people are going to greater efforts to seal off windows, doors, and other areas where air can leak inside, and this does not allow fresh air to enter the home. Nor does it let polluted air leave easily. Without air ventilation, furnaces and boilers are starved of the oxygen needed to burn fuel completely, producing carbon dioxide. Other causes of carbon dioxide entering your house through your chimney and fireplace include damaged, cracked, or deteriorated flue liners, creosote buildups, and animal or bird nests blocking your chimney flue.

You may be wondering how you can prevent carbon monoxide and other toxic gases from entering your home. According to many organizations including the CSIA, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the American Lung Association, and the National Fire Protection Association all strongly recommend you practice proper maintenance of your fireplace and chimney by having them cleaned and inspected every year to prevent carbon monoxide leaks. To keep you and your family safe from the dangers of death by carbon monoxide poisoning, have your chimney swept once of year by a CSIA-certified company like All Seasons Chimney.

If you have more questions about carbon monoxide poisoning, contact All Seasons Chimney today to get our professional and expert advice about keeping your house safe from this toxic gas.