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How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards

How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards - Fairfield New Haven CT - Total Chimney CareAccording to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200 carbon monoxide -related deaths occur annually, due to inadequate safety awareness in the public. Other agencies estimate that the number of deaths could be as high as 4,000. Why are these figures so high? Unlike other poisonous gases, carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and virtually undetectable gas. It kills slowly, over time, with seemingly harmless symptoms and warning signs like dizziness or stomachache. Many homeowners don’t realize where this threat comes from or how to avoid it.

Where The Threat Lies

When winter comes, you close the windows and set the thermostat to 70 degrees. But, have you given much thought to whether or not your furnace’s chimney flue is clean and ready to properly exhaust? Today’s gas or oil heating systems might be highly efficient, but if the chimney and connector pipe are not inspected and cleaned at periodic intervals, carbon monoxide poisoning can be a very real threat. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize this threat, and don’t make furnace flue sweeping appointments a priority.

Why The Threat Is Higher Than Before

Even though today’s home heating systems are incredibly efficient, today’s homes are designed and built to be more air tight than ever before. The reason for this is that air tight homes help conserve energy and keep utilities low. But, there is a downside. Air tight homes don’t allow much fresh air in or much polluted air out. Without fresh air, the furnace may be starved for oxygen, which will lead to incomplete fuel burn and the production of carbon monoxide. Worse still, if the heating system’s chimney is clogged, dirty, or otherwise blocked, this carbon monoxide will seep back into the home’s air supply instead of escaping through the furnace’s exhaust system.

What Can Be Done?

The best thing to do to keep your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning low is to make annual chimney inspections and cleanings a priority in your home. Many homeowners assume that the oil or gas technician inspects and cleans the flue when delivering fuel – but this is simply not the case. So, before closing the windows for the season and cranking up the thermostat, give Chimney Saver Solutions a call! We’ll inspect your furnace’s exhaust system and remove any buildup or debris that could negatively impact its function. Call us today!

By Steve Sobczak on September 8th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

No matter what time of the year, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are very real dangers. However, homeowners must take extra precaution this time of year because every home is running a furnace, boiler, fireplace or wood stove. While these heating appliances help people survive in the most frigid weather, they also pose a threat to survival with the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. To stay warm and safe this winter, install and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Safety - New Haven & Fairfield CT - Total Chimney CareIn the case of an unintentional house fire, people living in the house have a few short minutes at best to escape the building. To help maximize the time the inhabitants have for escape, every level of the house should be equipped with a smoke detector, in addition to inside every bedroom and outside the sleeping area. Each smoke detector should be tested once per month and totally replaced at least every 10 years. Having working smoke detectors in the house actually doubles the odds of survival in reported house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Possibly more dangerous than house fires, carbon monoxide is another serious safety threat during the winter months. The gas has no color, smell or taste, which means your body cannot detect carbon monoxide unless signs of poisoning have started to set in. Therefore, unlike a fire, you cannot immediately tell your life is in danger. Because of this insidious threat, the home must be equipped with updated carbon monoxide detectors.

Every type of burning creates carbon monoxide. Hence, a poorly venting chimney could cause your gas or wood burning fireplace to pour carbon monoxide into the living space. A gas furnace with a hole in the fire chamber could mean unhealthy concentrations of carbon monoxide. During a power outage, using a propane lantern to gather the family together could potentially be lethal.

Inhaling carbon monoxide prevents oxygen from entering the blood stream. The more you breathe, the more evident the lack of oxygen becomes. First, carbon monoxide poisoning feels like dizziness, vertigo and nausea. These initial signs can be reversed by moving to an open outdoor area, but all too often, the poisoning progresses to a loss of consciousness and chances of reversal become quite dim. Eventually, the organs begin to fail and death quickly ensues. This entire process can actually happen in just one minute if the concentration of carbon monoxide is high enough

The hazards of fire and carbon monoxide must be respected. Maintaining and updating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors around the house is vital to staying safe, but you can also protect your family by educating everyone on the proper safety in case of an emergency. These simple measures can save lives. For more information on smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, contact the local fire department or Total Chimney Care of New Haven, Connecticut.

By Steve Sobczak on December 17th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Kerosene Heaters and Your Safety

Unlike in Japan, where kerosene heaters are often primary heating appliances, they are widely used for a quick burst of extra heat in American households. As a result, they are not generally thought of as things that pose a danger as long as they are kept away from curtains and bedding. That, however, is a mistake because kerosene heaters pose significant dangers even when properly distanced from flammables.

Kerosene Heater - New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care

Serious Dangers in Kerosene Heaters

Among those dangers are:

  • a high fuel to air ratio when ignited
  • strong fumes when filled
  • release of all combustibles into the room
  • health risks with inadequate ventilation
  • open flame
  • hot surfaces

Need we go on?

The use of kerosene heaters mandates the utmost caution when refilling, lighting, and operating them, regardless of where you live. They contain a flammable substance themselves, can ignite others, and require an open flame. Especially with children in the house, they need to be carefully placed and closely monitored.

You Might Ask Your Chimney Sweep

Obvious measures are called for by the dangers they present, but you could also ask your chimney sweep for advice and a quick check of your typical set-ups. Certified chimney sweeps are knowledgeable of clearances from flammables, among other things, so their input can be helpful. Still, a lot of things you can attend to regularly and by yourself, starting with providing a way out for carbon monoxide.

Windows should always be cracked when a kerosene heater is in use, unless the “heater” we are talking about comes with a flue that vents to the outdoors. There also needs to be proper ventilation when the heater is being refilled, and it needs to be kept well away from flammable household liquids. Some way of preventing children from coming too close to its hot surfaces is also called for, so maybe your chimney sweep will have some ideas about that too!

By Steve Sobczak on April 6th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment