Company Blog

Carbon Monoxide and Its Dangers

When you are enjoying the fire from your fireplace, stove, or insert, you most likely give little thought to the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) states that every year over 200 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning due to the toxic gas entering their homes due to venting problems or leaks in their heating or chimney system. Furthermore, 10,000 cases of illnesses due to carbon monoxide poisoning are reported every year. Luckily, proper maintenance of your chimney, including an annual chimney sweep and inspection from a company like All Seasons Chimney with CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, can prevent any possible carbon monoxide poisoning incidents from happening to you and your family in your home.

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What exactly does carbon monoxide do to your body?

Too much carbon monoxide in your bloodstream will kill you, and low levels of exposure to carbon monoxide over a period of time can cause many health problems. The danger lies in the fact that when carbon monoxide is present in the air, the protein hemoglobin in your blood would rather latch on to it and ignore life-giving oxygen. When this happens, your body will replace oxygen with carbon monoxide, and this causes greater or lesser levels of your cells suffocating, depending on the duration and intensity of the exposure to carbon monoxide. Low-level exposure to carbon dioxide includes some very serious side effects like permanent organ and brain damage. People with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, infants, and people with breathing issues, are in more danger to carbon monoxide exposure. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the common cold and flu, so it can be a long and frustrating process to diagnose the true problem. If you continue to suffer from headaches, fatigue, or even depression, ask your doctor to check your blood levels of carbon monoxide.

How does carbon monoxide form in my chimney?

As a by-product of combustion, carbon monoxide can be found in both gas and wood-burning fireplaces, stoves, and furnaces. When the combustion process is incomplete, more carbon dioxide is formed. Restricted air flow caused by closed fireplace doors, an unopened damper, or a flue blockage results in incomplete combustion as not enough oxygen is able to get in to completely burn the fuel.

How does carbon monoxide leak into my house from my chimney?

Several factors can result in this toxic gas leaking into your home. A damaged or deteriorated flue liner allows carbon monoxide to seep through its cracks into your living space. All Seasons Chimney can easily take care of this problem by restoring a damaged flue liner or even by replacing your old liner with a new stainless steel liner. Other causes of carbon monoxide entering your home include debris clogs, soot and creosote build-up, and animal or birds nests obstructing the chimney flue.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide from entering my house?

The best prevention against carbon monoxide leaks is an annual chimney sweeping and inspection from a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. All Seasons Chimney will ensure your venting system and flue liner are in good shape, and if not, we provide chimney repair services to fine-tune your chimney so that it works efficiently and safely. We also recommend you install carbon monoxide detector alarms throughout your home in case you do experience a carbon monoxide leak. These alarms can save your life!

If you have any more questions about the dangers of carbon monoxide, contact All Seasons Chimney. Our staff will be happy to answer them as well as schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection to ensure your home is free from this dangerous toxic gas.

Do You Have Winter-Related Chimney Damage?

Our area has experienced some harsh winter weather this year, and we at All Seasons Chimney have already been very busy repairing a lot of damage caused by the past several cold months. From water leaks to damaged dampers, liners, and chimney caps to masonry problems, the extreme temperatures of winter can be very destructive to a chimney. You may have even noticed some damage done to your chimney. The spring season is a great time to take care of these repairs, and you do not want to delay fixing winter-related chimney damage. We would like to tell you about some common post-winter chimney repairs and how our certified and experienced chimney technicians can fix these problems.

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LEAKY CHIMNEYS

Causing possibly hundreds to thousands of dollars in chimney damage repair, water leaks are a chimney’s worst enemy. After a cold winter with below-freezing temperatures, we often see leaks caused by spalling. Water leaks from a chimney can be hard to locate, so call All Seasons Chimney to schedule a professional chimney inspection to determine exactly what is causing them. You can see signs of a leaky chimney, which include:

Loose or missing bricks and/or mortar

Cracking and crumbling in the bricks and/or mortar

Rusty stains

Brick discoloration

Water in the fireplace

Damp odors

DAMPER AND CHIMNEY CAP DAMAGE

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the efficiency of these two parts of your chimney is crucial to saving energy and money. Additionally, these two components serve to keep water from penetrating into your chimney. If your damper is stuck open, it is the same thing as leaving a window in your house open. Cold air escapes, bugs get in, the rain pours into your house, etc. If the damper is stuck closed, you cannot start a fire because your flue is closed-off and unable to filter smoke and gases. Similarly, an undamaged chimney cap fitting correctly on the top of your chimney is essential because not only does it also keep rain out of your chimney, but it prevents stray animals from setting up home there.

MASONRY FIREPLACE DAMAGE

These classic chimneys are a bit more elaborate and require different types of maintenance, but All Seasons Chimney specializes in repairing masonry chimneys and is glad to check the following jobs off your repair list:

Crown repair

Your crown is the chimney cap of your masonry chimney and can become cracked during the winter during extremely cold spells.

Repointing/tuckpointing

When the bricks and mortar of your chimney are crumbling and falling apart due to deteriorating joints from spalling and water damage, we can repair (or rebuild, if necessary) your chimney using these techniques.

If you have noticed any of these or other chimney problems from the past winter, contact All Seasons Chimney as soon as possible. We are ready to repair any damage as well as prevent further damage from occurring.