Carbon Monoxide and Your Chimney
When moving into a new home, it is impossible to pass a safety inspection without having working carbon monoxide detectors. This is because carbon monoxide is otherwise impossible to detect but also can be deadly if it is found in the home. What many homeowners do not realize is that their fireplace may be putting their home at risk of exposure to carbon monoxide. The only way to avoid this problem is to understand the connection between the chimney and carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is a natural byproduct of coal when it is burned to make a fire. If there is nothing blocking the pathway out of the chimney, there is no risk involved. However, when the chimney is clogged, there is no way for the combustion gasses to leave the chimney and the gasses simply build up there. Eventually, the gasses will make their way back into the home because there is nowhere else for them to go. It can be difficult to detect the gas in the home because it has no smell, color, or taste.
Running an exhaust fan while using the fireplace may seem like a good idea but it can actually be very dangerous. It sucks the healthy air out of the room but, more importantly, it spreads the dangerous gasses. If there is a circumstance that requires the fan to run, be sure that it is only going for short periods of time. If not it could be a hazard.
Detecting carbon monoxide with the senses is practically impossible but the chimney might give away a few clues that there is a problem. In some cases, a heavy air will make the room feel stuffy while there is a fire in the fireplace. Soot coming out of the chimney is also an indicator that carbon monoxide may be present. If there are any such issues during a fire, it is important to check the batteries in the carbon monoxide detectors immediately.
It is also important for everyone in the family to be aware of the symptoms associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. The tricky thing is that, in the early stages, it feels very much like having the flu. Carbon monoxide poisoning is often associated with vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. In the most severe cases, people lose control of their muscles. If any of these symptoms occur, it is best to be on the safe side and see a doctor. Carbon monoxide poisoning has the potential to be fatal.
In order to avoid carbon monoxide entering the home through the chimney, it is necessary to have annual chimney inspections. Fluesbrothers certified sweeps will be able to quickly identify any risk factors that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Of course, it is also important to check the detectors on
a regular basis to make sure that they are in good working condition.
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is scary but it is an easy thing to avoid. Simply use the fireplace and chimney properly and make sure that they are inspected annually. Keep the chimney clean and remember to check the carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis. By following these simple steps, it is easy to enjoy the fireplace without fear.