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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

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

The Silent Killer

Understanding the dangers associated with carbon monoxide poisoning is important for everyone; prevention is the key to avoiding this tragic but preventable fate.  Nearly one thousand people die accidentally from non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

A large percentage of the accidental deaths are directly linked to fuel-burning appliances that are faulty, improperly used, or incorrectly vented.  Aelite Chimney Specialties is here to help you provide everyone in your household with the protection they deserve from these dangers.

Make Some Noise: The Silent Killer

Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home helps to keep your family safe.

Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home helps to keep your family safe.

You cannot see, taste, or smell carbon monoxide, hence the reason it has earned a rather befitting nickname: the silent killer.  At high enough levels, carbon monoxide can kill a person in minutes.  It is created whenever a fuel is burned.

When fuel-burning appliances are maintained and used properly, the amount of carbon monoxide produced doesn’t typically reach hazardous levels; however, if these same appliances aren’t properly maintained or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can be produced.

As a precautionary measure, having your heating equipment cleaned and inspected by a professional annually is an absolute must.

Listen to Your Body: Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Learning the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and the steps you can take to minimize your risk of exposure are an integral part to keeping you and your loved ones safe.

  • Moderate levels of carbon monoxide exposure can cause severe headaches, dizziness or disorientation, confusion, nausea, and/or fainting.
  • It’s possible to die if these levels persist for an extended period of time.
  • Low levels of carbon monoxide can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea and headaches, and may have longer-term effects on overall health.

Because many of these symptoms are similar to those of more common ailments — e.g. the flu and food poisoning — many people don’t even think of carbon monoxide poisoning as a possibility.  This is their first mistake.  If these symptoms only appear when you’re in the house and then get better when you leave home, carbon monoxide poisoning could very likely be the reason.  Getting fresh air as soon as any of these symptoms surface is key.

An Investment you shouldn’t Live Without: Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Another key precautionary measure is installing at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, especially near sleeping quarters.  If you install a battery-powered unit, plan to check the batteries regularly to ensure your home is still being monitored.

Upgrading each of these units every 5-7 years is also strongly recommended, as it will help to ensure that you have the most up-to-date technology monitoring the air quality conditions within your home.  You can never be too careful when it comes to life-or-death issues.

As a quick refresher, make sure to have your fuel-burning appliances inspected and cleaned by a certified professional prior to the beginning of every heating season.  Ensure that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good working condition, and unobstructed.

If you or anyone in your home notices symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, go outside to get fresh air right away, and seek medical attention immediately thereafter.  Lastly, install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.  Remember, carbon monoxide cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled; the only defense against this silent killer is forethought, knowledge, and prevention.  It’s never too late to make the right decision!

At Aelite Chimney Specialties, we know how important your family’s health and safety is to you.  That’s why we do our best to provide you with the highest level of comprehensive chimney and venting services.  Our experience and dedication to customer care is sure to exceed your expectations!  Call us today at (815) 363-1242, and experience a whole new level of service.  You’ll be glad that you did!

Maintain Good Chimney Draft

Avoid a Smoky Fireplace with a Proper Chimney Draft

There's a big difference between a GOOD chimney draft and a BAD one. Learn how to get the good kind and prevent issues like indoor air pollution, carbon monoxide poisoning, and a smoky fireplace, to name a few.

There’s a big difference between a GOOD chimney draft and a BAD one. Learn how to get the good kind and prevent issues like indoor air pollution, carbon monoxide poisoning, and a smoky fireplace, to name a few.

Have you ever been curious about the reason why, even if the fireplace is burning wood and keeping you warm in the middle of your living room, no toxin-filled smoke is lingering in the house? That’s the whole point of effective ventilation. Your chimney sucks the air uniformly from the fireplace and then lead it out of the house. This is the principle behind what we call chimney draft. It is important for you, as a homeowner, to know these things in order to help you see if there’s already something wrong going on inside your chimney.

The Cause for Decreased Draft in your Chimney

Chimney draft is essential for a fireplace and chimney system to properly function. It can either increase or decrease depending on the performance of your chimney. If there are any problems like blockages in the opening of the chimney then there is a decrease in the chimney draft. Blockages can refer to birds, spider webs, twigs and leaves getting stuck inside. This means that there’s not enough suction from the fireplace towards the flue to completely remove unwanted air. If the chimney draft is not going up and out, bigger problems will ultimately present themselves. To prevent these blockages from forming in your chimney, we suggest that you have a chimney cap installed.

Keep an Eye on the Flue Liner

The way to avoid getting your home filled with smoke is to make sure that the flue liner in your chimneys are in excellent condition. Good flue liners increase draft efficiency thus providing a smoke-free, secured home. If the problem is a worn out flue liner, then replacing the flue liner will definitely improve your chimney’s functionality.

Other Recommendations

This is the reason why we would always recommend annual chimney inspections along with chimney sweeping at least once a year and especially when the winter season starts, to make sure that everything inside your chimney is intact and ready to endure any kind of weather. Don’t ignore that gut feeling that something seems wrong. Smoke inside the home is the most obvious sign.

Aelite Chimney Specialists is Here to Help You!

We all want to make sure nothing bad happens to our property and that there are no threats to our safety. We are here to help you attain that assurance. Our company, Aelite Chimney Specialists employs CSIA certified professional sweeps to give you confidence in our judgement.

 

Are You Breathing Clean Air at Home?

You may think the air you breathe inside the house is clean, but it could be just as dirty as outdoor air. Be aware.

You may think the air you breathe inside the house is clean, but it could be just as dirty as outdoor air. Be aware.

The air you and your family breathe is one of the most important things in your home. When you hear the word pollution, you often think of the air outside that can be caused by cars and factories. However, the air inside of your home can be polluted by common sources such as mold and pollen, tobacco smoke, household products and different gases such as Carbon Monoxide. These are all almost completely preventable. Building structure is sometimes the blame for poor air quality so make sure that your building is well-ventilated. Also, one of the major producers of Carbon Monoxide in the home is your fireplace and chimney. With proper care they can be a nice addition to your home, but they can also be dangerous quickly. If you need any chimney assistance this season, contact Aelite Chimney to talk to an experienced professional.

CO Inside the House

To prevent Carbon Monoxide from staying in the home it must be able to exit the chimney. This cannot happen if there is a blockage, commonly caused by twigs and leaves or creosotes. Creosotes are particles released from burning wood that can build up in your chimney. You cannot usually tell that Carbon Monoxide is filling your air until it is too late as it is odorless and colorless. The gas is extremely toxic so if you suspect it is in the air around you, you should evacuate the area immediately and seek medical attention depending on symptoms. Mild symptoms include headache, dizziness, and nausea, while more extreme symptoms can include chest pains, impaired vision, and even fatality.
Now, homeowners can get CO alarms to install inside of their homes to alert them when levels begin to rise. You should install multiple alarms throughout your home on all levels and also connect them together so when one area is changing you can be alerted anywhere in the house. These should not be used as smoke alarms as they are looking for two different things. Remember that an alarm will only work properly if it is taken care of so make sure that they are cleaned, tested, and have the batteries replaced regularly.

 

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Are You Breathing Clean Air at Home?