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The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Too much exposure to carbon monoxide is toxic

Too much exposure to carbon monoxide is toxic

Carbon monoxide leaks pose serious dangers to you and your loved ones’ health, and these dangers include death. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission claims over 200 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning from malfunctioning heating appliances and venting system issues. Additionally, over 10,000 carbon monoxide-related injuries are reported every year. Preventing these dangers is one of the main reason you should schedule an annual chimney sweeping and inspection from Aelite Chimney Specialties every year. We can find things that cause carbon monoxide to leak into your home, such as a cracked flue liner, a chimney blockage, and problems with the chimney and the connector pipe. Our certified technicians can also repair these issues to protect you against the dangers of carbon monoxide. We would like to tell you more about carbon monoxide poisoning and its health hazards.

What Carbon Monoxide Does to Your Body

Many of us know that too much carbon monoxide in the bloodstream is deadly; however, few understand that even a low-level exposure to this toxic gas can harm your body. Breathing in carbon monoxide is so dangerous because hemoglobin, a protein in your blood, will always latch on to carbon monoxide and ignore oxygen when given the choice between the two.This means your body replaces life-giving oxygen with poisonous carbon monoxide, and this causes the suffocation of cells, with the severity depending on the intensity and duration of the exposure to the toxic gas.

The Trouble with Diagnosing Low-Level Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

With symptoms such as headache, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea, low-level carbon monoxide poisoning is often mistaken as the flu or a common cold, and, unfortunately, it can take some time to make the correct diagnosis. Since low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent brain and/or organ damage, diagnosing the problem can be crucial, Also, the longer it is misdiagnosed, the longer the exposure to carbon monoxide. The only way to determine the issue is due to carbon monoxide exposure is a blood test.

Helpful Tips to Distinguish Between Low-Level Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and the Flu or the Common Cold

If you are showing symptoms of carbon monoxide but were diagnosed with the flu or a cold, but two weeks later, you show no improvement, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggests three questions you should ask yourself about your symptoms:

Do I have a fever? If your answer is “yes,” you have the flu or a bad cold. Carbon monoxide poisoning will not elevate your temperature, so if your answer is “no,” you should ask your doctor to test the carbon monoxide levels in your blood.
Do my symptoms improve when I leave the house? If carbon monoxide is leaking into your home, you will feel badly as you are exposed to the toxic gas at home. If your symptoms lessen whenever you are away from your house, most likely you are suffering from low-level carbon monoxide poisoning. Again, ask your doctor to check your blood for carbon monoxide levels.
Are my pets also getting sick? Cats and dogs are not affected by the flu virus, so if your pets seem ill as well. there is a strong possibility carbon monoxide is leaking into your home.

Keep carbon monoxide out of your house. Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule your annual chimney cleaning and inspection to protect you from carbon monoxide leaks.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Prepare Your Chimney for Winter Before the Fall Rush

Don't wait until it's cold and you need your fireplace to have your chimney swept!

Don’t wait until it’s cold and you need your fireplace to have your chimney swept!

Trying to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection in the fall can be quite difficult as everyone is thinking about getting his chimney ready for the cold winter months. Contacting a CSIA-certified company like Aelite Chimney Specialties before the fall rush to arrange a visit from our chimney sweeps is a smart decision. If you put this call off for too long, you will have to wait for weeks for an available appointment, and, by that time, it may have already been cool enough to use your fireplace. Strongly recommended by many fire safety organizations, your chimney should be cleaned and examined before lighting the first fire of the season. We at Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to share what our experienced technicians will be doing to prepare your chimney for winter.

CHIMNEY SWEEPING

Aelite Chimney Specialties cannot stress the importance enough of having your chimney cleaned before the weather turns cooler. Before the first fire is lit, our chimney sweeps will ensure your chimney is free of soot and creosote deposits. Both are highly combustible and could possibly cause a chimney fire, especially if the deposits are large. Cleaning out all of the debris in your chimney also protects you and your family from the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

CHIMNEY INSPECTING

Checking out your chimney for damages that need repairing is just as important as having your chimney cleaned. You may have some serious repairs needed before you can safely use your fireplace over the winter, and scheduling a chimney inspection before the fall rush is the best way to be sure these repairs can be completed in time. What exactly will Aelite Chimney Specialties be looking for during an inspection? According to the article “Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Winter” on the real estate website, Zillow, certain parts of your chimney need more scrutiny, including:

Exterior Masonry — We will be looking for loose bricks, chipped mortar, and other signs of water penetration damage. If we find any deterioration, our certified masons will make the needed repairs.
Chimney Cap — One of the best ways to keep water out of your chimney, a chimney cap also does the job of preventing animals and birds from entering your chimney to nest for the winter. If your chimney cap is cracked or damaged, we can either repair this damage, or, if it is beyond repairing, we can install a new chimney cap to ensure your chimney is protected.
Flue Liner — If you have cracks or holes in your chimney flue liner, we can also repair this damage as well as install a new liner if your old one cannot be saved. Your liner provides protection from toxic gases like carbon monoxide from leaking into your home and causing health problems for you and your family.

Do not delay in scheduling your annual chimney sweeping and inspection! Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties today to arrange a visit from our experienced technicians.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Prepare Your Chimney for Winter Before the Fall Rush

All About Chimney Liners

According to the CSIA, problems in your chimney’s flue can pose serious risks to your home and family, as it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the products of combustion to the outside of your home.

Give Aelite Chimney Specialties a call at 815-363-1242 to schedule an inspection to ensure your flue liner is in tip top shape!

Give Aelite Chimney Specialties a call at 815-363-1242 to schedule an inspection to ensure your flue liner is in tip top shape!

 

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Cleaning Your Wood Stove

Keeping It Clean

Wood-burning stoves are top-notch mood-enhancers, but they also have plenty of practical benefits — they’re great zone heaters, and the units on the market today are highly efficient, too, giving off much more warmth and wasting much less fuel.

Owning a woods stove does require a certain amount of work to keep the system running properly and as safely as possible, though. There’s the work involved with any wood-burning unit — cutting and stacking wood, building fires — and then there’s the regular upkeep that keeps your stove clean and prepped for regular use. Aelite Chimney Specialties can help with a big part of your regular wood stove maintenance, removing creosote and other deposits from your flue during chimney sweeping appointments . (For a regularly used wood stove, it’s recommended to have the chimney swept twice a year.)

Ash removal is a critical step in maintaining your wood stove at an optimum level.

Ash removal is a critical step in maintaining your wood stove at an optimum level.

In between chimney sweeping appointments, though, there are a few things you can (and should) do to keep your wood stove clean.

Keep on top of ash removal

Ash builds up every time you use your wood stove, and it’s important to keep on top of cleaning it out. If you’re using the stove regularly, it’s a good practice to clean out ash every few days, before it’s allowed to build up to the level of the loading doors.

To remove ash, make sure to wait until the fire has completely died down — if any burning embers are still present, they add a potential danger to the process. Scoop the extinguished ash into a non-combustible container with a lid so you can dispose of it properly and safely, but leave about a half inch to an inch of ash on the bottom of the stove. That layer helps insulate, and will make it easier to start your next fire and achieve a nice uniform burn.

Clean your wood stove door

Keeping the door of your wood stove clean will lengthen its life, and just help you enjoy looking at your fire and your appliance. It’s also easy to do. Aelite technicians can recommend a good fireplace glass cleaner, which you’ll apply to the door when the stove has had time to cool completely, and wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Buffing after the cleaner has dried (again, with a clean, soft cloth) helps it shine and sparkle.

Make cleaning easier by using the right fuel

Always use seasoned or kiln-dried hardwood in your woodstove — green wood leads to a cooler fire that produces more creosote and more waste. Other materials — like trash or brush — have their own issues, from more mess to potentially giving off toxic gases (treated wood and plastic are a particular worry with the latter).

Start off with a wide-open damper

When you start your fire, open the draft control as wide as it will go and leave it that way for 10-15 minutes. It’ll help you achieve the kind of small, hot fire that’s optimum — large, smoldering fires lead to more creosote build-up.

With a little bit of diligence and effort, your wood stove should provide warmth and ambiance for years to come. And Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you enjoy your stove and chimney system as efficiently and safely as possible — just give us a call whenever you need us!

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Chimney Inspection Levels

Levels of Chimney Inspection

Having a fire inside a home or any enclosed space is dangerous due to the fire and smoke hazards to the building and personal health. It is good to know the inspection procedures and levels of inspection performed by chimney professionals. There are three levels of inspection when it comes to inspecting chimneys according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Inspection is done to ensure safety of fireplace and chimney operation, but the procedures of the inspection become more in depth and involved with each level of inspection.

A certified chimney sweep checks several vital parts of your chimney to ensure safety.

A certified chimney sweep checks several vital parts of your chimney to ensure safety.

Level 1

Level 1 inspection is the most basic inspection of a chimney, but there is nothing basic about it. Routinely, a level 1 inspection will be conducted during annual evaluations and/or cleaning or sweeping and if the system is being maintained. The Level 1 inspection is limited to accessible portions of the fireplace/appliance and the chimney venting system. The flue is inspected to ensure proper operation and is free from blockage or restriction. This type of inspection is the most routine and if a chimney professional sees something not consistent for proper use can lead to a more detailed Level 2 inspection.

Level 2

A Level 2 inspection is routinely carried out when the use of the system is changing, when there was damage to the system, before a flue relining, or when a Level 1 inspection reveals the need a closer look. This type of inspection is also typical during the home inspection when buying or selling a home to protect the buyer and seller of chimney operation and if any repairs may be necessary. Level 2 inspection includes everything in Level 1 inspection, but other more inaccessible areas are inspected that might include the roof, the crawlspace, attics, basements, etc. Level 2 inspection will also include a video scanning of the chimney system and flue to reveal potential problems or issues. No property will be disturbed or destroyed while performing a Level 2 inspection.

Level 3

A Level 3 inspection must include both Level 1 and Level 2 inspection, but occurs only when Level 2 cannot reveal adequate information about the system to the chimney inspector. In these rare cases, parts of the system must be destroyed to gain access to these concealed areas that cannot be gained by other means.

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