About 20,000 instances of carbon monoxide poisoning occur yearly, and many times it’s because of ignorance on the part of the homeowner. Common causes of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning include:
- Using a gas oven to heat your kitchen
- Using a charcoal grill in your home or in a closed garage
- Running small engine equipment inside a home with no ventilation
These are things to avoid in order to lessen the occurrence of carbon monoxide intrusion because carbon monoxide kills. This type of carbon monoxide poisoning is easily detected because it usually occurs quickly, and the CO is in high volume. Carbon monoxide intrusion can create a dangerous situation in your house in which your family is slowly poisoned. In fact, low-level carbon monoxide poisoning causes symptoms similar to a common cold, flu, and exhaustion. Burning season is also cold and flu season, so a homeowner often overlooks the symptoms until levels of carbon monoxide blood levels are fatally high. At this point hospitalization may be the only answer.
What Causes Carbon Monoxide Intrusion
Any damage to your chimney system can allow carbon monoxide to enter your home. The chimney is designed to vent the harmful gases from the fireplace out of the home. If your chimney works less efficiently, it will vent those poisonous gases with less efficiently, allowing them to linger in your home.
Problems With Your Chimney
- If your liner is damaged, with cracks or holes, it can lead to carbon monoxide intrusion. You can have your chimney relined to prevent harmful gases from leaving the chimney and entering your home.
- If your chimney is obstructed because of debris or damaged parts, you can schedule a chimney sweep to prevent the CO intrusion.
- If your chimney system is generally less efficient, you should have it checked out right away. There is always a problem causing the chimney to perform less efficiently. A chimney sweep can thoroughly assess your system and make a repair plan to avoid CO intrusion.
What You Can Do
- Prioritize Preventative Maintenance: The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends annual chimney inspections to keep your chimney system in proper working order.
- Burn Only Proper Fuel: In your traditional fireplace you should only burn properly seasoned wood. Burning other materials can cause extra soot and creosote buildup, smoke intrusion, and fire risk.
- Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector: You can purchase and install a CO detector that can alert you to intrusion that affects the air quality and can affect your health.
If you’ve taken steps to prevent carbon monoxide intrusion, and you still have a concern, you should call a professional today. Call Northwest Fireplace and Chimney at (219) 413-2349 or request an appointment online.