In our day-to-day work as chimney professionals, our technicians talk to our clients a lot about ways to prevent chimney fire hazards and damaging moisture intrusion. But those problems definitely aren’t our only concern. Preventing carbon monoxide intrusion is a big focus for us as well, because it’s a serious danger, and as your chimney technicians, we not only want you to enjoy a beautiful and efficiently performing chimney system, we want to help ensure that your system is as safe as it can and should be, too.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide is an invisible hazard — it’s colorless and odorless, and it results from the incomplete burning of fuel, whether that fuel is wood, propane or natural gas, oil, coal or a host of other combustible materials. It’s why we’re all warned not to run our cars in a confined space — your engine is a combustion system, and as gas is burned, carbon monoxide results, and is released through your exhaust system.
How Can It Get Into My Home?
If you have a fireplace or stove, it’s in most cases attached to a chimney that vents to the outdoors. When you have a fire — whether it’s burning wood, gas or pellets — byproducts are produced, including small particles, heat and gases like carbon monoxide. In a well-built and well-maintained chimney, those byproducts are efficiently carried up and out through the flue. When problems are present — a flue blockage, a stuck chimney damper, improper draft, cracks in the flue liner — the chimney can’t do its job properly, and byproducts, CO included, can leak into your living area.
Why Do I Need To Worry About It?
When breathed in, carbon monoxide can make you sick — and can even be deadly. CO poisoning symptoms range from headaches, nausea, fatigue and vomiting to loss of consciousness and, in severe cases, death. Since you can’t see it or smell it, you may not realize that you have a carbon monoxide leak until it’s too late.
How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Intrusion?
Proper hearth appliance use is your first step — always make sure that your flue is completely open before you start a fire, and if you’re using a wood-burning appliance, make sure to always (and exclusively) use kiln-dried or seasoned (i.e. properly dried) firewood. But proper chimney maintenance really is key. Your annual chimney inspection appointment allows Chimney Saver Solutions technicians to take a close look at your system, top to bottom, and find any problems that might be limiting your chimney’s effectiveness, and make any necessary repairs. Regular chimney sweeping appointments keep your flue clean and clear of creosote and debris, and venting the way it was designed to. When we’re keeping your chimney in top shape, it can vent effectively and efficiently.
A hugely important thing you can do when it comes to carbon monoxide is to make sure that you have a working carbon monoxide detector installed in your home, and that the batteries are changed regularly — this way, if a problem occurs that you’re not aware of in between our visits, you have an indicator that’ll alert you.
If you have any questions about carbon monoxide — or about what you can do to keep your chimney system functioning more effectively — don’t hesitate to call and make an appointment with our knowledgeable, CSIA-certified technicians. We’re always here to help our valued clients!