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Protect Yourself from the Threat of Carbon Monoxide with a Chimney Inspection

Carbon monoxide is often called “the invisible killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas that can be deadly. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 150 Americans die every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced when the combustion process is not completed, which makes your fireplace a possible source of this toxic gas. Several chimney issues, such as draft problems, lead to incomplete combustion. If your chimney is blocked by debris, carbon monoxide can get forced back into your home since it cannot escape through your chimney as it normally should. Since your safety is our top priority, Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to share with you some information about carbon monoxide poisoning and how you can prevent it from happening to you and your household.

How do I know if I have carbon monoxide poisoning?

Diagnosing carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult for a couple of reasons. Since this gas is undetectable, you cannot tell when you are breathing in this toxic gas. Also, the symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to those of the common cold and flu: dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms for longer than three weeks without any signs of improvement, you should ask your doctor to test your blood for carbon monoxide. Without a diagnosis, you can continue breathing in this poisonous gas and quickly develop the high-level phase of this poisoning. Symptoms of high-level carbon monoxide poisoning include vomiting, mental confusion, loss of muscle coordination, loss of consciousness, and death.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide from leaking into my home?Carbon Monoxide - Aelite Chimney Specialists - Chicago IL

Your best way to prevent this toxic gas from coming into your living spaces from your fireplace is to have your chimney professionally inspected every year by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We will look for damage that could lead to the overproduction of carbon monoxide as well as flue blockages that could allow this gas to leak into your home. We also recommend that you install carbon monoxide alarm monitors throughout your home. You should ensure that these alarms are installed outside each bedroom, in the room of your fireplace, and on each level of your home.

What should I do if my carbon monoxide alarm sounds?

You should never ignore your carbon monoxide detectors when they sound an alarm. Immediately move yourself and everyone else inside the home outside to breathe fresh air. Contact the appropriate local emergency services, and wait outside for their arrival. Check to make sure everyone has gotten out of the house, and remain outside until the emergency responders tell you it is safe to go back into your home. If the source of your carbon monoxide leak is your fireplace or chimney, contact us to make the necessary repairs that will allow you to safely use your fireplace again. Do not use your fireplace until we have given it our safety approval.

Need more carbon monoxide safety tips? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about preventing this toxic gas from entering your home and making you and your family seriously ill.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on Protect Yourself from the Threat of Carbon Monoxide with a Chimney Inspection

Carbon Monoxide and Your Chimney

Anyone who has ever purchased a home knows that it is mandatory to have a carbon monoxide detector in the home in order for it to be considered safe. However, many people do not understand exactly what carbon monoxide poisoning is or how their chimney can contribute to it. It is important to understand how these two things go together in order to keep the entire family safe and healthy.

When coal and fire burn in a fireplace, carbon monoxide is one of the byproducts. This is not a problem, as long as there is nothing blocking the chimney. If the chimney is blocked, combustion gasses accumulate inside of it with nowhere to go. If the gasses are not allowed to leave the chimney, they have nowhere to go but into home. This is especially dangerous because the poisonous gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless, so it may go unnoticed for quite some time.

Carbon monoxide can come into your home is your chimney is blocked.

Carbon monoxide can come into your home is your chimney is blocked.

Another common mistake that many people make is running an exhaust fan while they have their fireplace going. This not only removes healthy air from the home but it spreads the deadly air throughout the space. If it is necessary, for some reason, to run the fan while the fireplace is working, it is important to only leave it running for a few minutes at a time. Any longer may put the entire household in danger.

Although it is impossible to see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, the chimney itself might provide a few indicators that it is in the air. For example, when there is a fire, the chimney may put stuffy, heavy air back into the environment of the home. Homeowners also notice a back draft with soot coming out of the chimney. If any of these signs appear, it is a good idea to make sure that the carbon monoxide detector in the home is working properly.

There are also some physical symptoms that people in the house might notice if they are affected by carbon monoxide poisoning. The problem is that many of the early symptoms appear to be something like the flu, which leads many people to misdiagnose it. For example, they may have a headache, nausea and vomiting. When the situation becomes more advanced, they may notice that they experience a loss of muscle control. If the illness progresses to this point, it is necessary to see a doctor as quickly as possible. If left untreated, carbon monoxide poisoning is fatal.

The best way to avoid carbon monoxide entering the home through the chimney is to have it inspected annually. A chimney sweep will be able to tell whether there are any clear risk factors for carbon monoxide. It is also very important to make sure that there are working carbon monoxide detectors in the home. Check the batteries every month along with checking the smoke detectors.

Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas and it is important to realize that it can enter the home because of the chimney. To make sure that all dangerous gasses leave the home instead of entering it, always keep the chimney clear of any obstructions. If soot comes down from the chimney or the air becomes stuffy, make sure that there are proper detectors in place to alert the family of carbon monoxide in the air. Failure to take these important precautions could be life threatening.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Carbon Monoxide and Your Chimney