If you have a home that has a fireplace or chimney, you probably worry a lot about flue fires, smoke alarms, and fire safety. It’s important to also pay attention to other risks which might occur without any sign whatsoever. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur over time and quickly, causing health emergencies that are irreversible.
Carbon Monoxide or CO is produced when fuel is burned. Your fireplace, stove, lantern, grill, and gas range can produce CO gas. It is often called “the silent killer” due to its lack of color, taste, or smell. It goes unnoticed unless appropriate detectors are installed and maintained. Even the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning go unnoticed, attributed to other causes. A carbon monoxide leak may be slow or fast. Slow leaks are often caused by general wear and tear of a chimney or a small leak in an appliance and can often cause the most damage to the human body.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Signs and Symptoms
CO poisoning is often overlooked because it presents with symptoms much like common cold or flu, including:
-Shortness of breath
-Loss of consciousness
The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is more serious for young children and elderly family members as well as people who are asleep or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Women who are pregnant may recover after CO poisoning, but damage to the unborn baby may be irreparable.
Exposure to carbon monoxide over time or suddenly can cause serious injury or death. This is because it shuts down body systems and organs, including the brain. Depending on the length of exposure, a person might experience permanent brain damage, damage to the heart, fetal death or miscarriage, and death. If your carbon monoxide detector has alerted you of a leak and you’re experiencing ANY symptoms, seek medical attention right away. If you have a fire appliance, but no carbon monoxide detector, and have experience symptoms such as these, seek medical attention right away.
Prevent CO Exposure
-Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. Check the batteries as often as you change batteries in your television remote. Check the alarm’s function every time you pay your electricity bill (monthly).
-Never run small motors or equipment inside your home, even to test them.
-Properly vent any fuel-burning appliance such as propane or kerosene heaters, cooking ranges, and furnaces.
-Open the garage before starting your car, especially if your garage is attached to your home and shares a heating or cooling system.
-Schedule routine maintenance for heating systems including furnaces and chimney systems.
-Make repairs as needed and before returning to the home after exposure.
At Northwest Fireplace and Chimney, we repair chimney systems and service fire appliances in order to keep our customers safe from accidental fires and other dangers associated with fires–including carbon monoxide poisoning. If your damper is damaged or stuck or if there are cracks and gaps in the liner, you ma31y have a CO leak. These things can be repaired before a problem occurs.
Call us today and schedule repairs or inspections. Call 219-413-2349 or request an appointment online.