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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

Air Quality Indoors

Do you think the air you breathe inside is cleaner than the air outdoors? Sometimes the air quality in your home is compromised, especially when you don't pay attention to your fireplace and chimney.

Do you think the air you breathe inside is cleaner than the air outdoors? Sometimes the air quality in your home is compromised, especially when you don’t pay attention to your fireplace and chimney.

Imagine you’re sitting in front of your fireplace on a blustery winter night. You have a roaring fire going, the flue is adjusted perfectly so no smoke is billowing into the house, logs are burning evenly, and you’re enjoying the warmth and the intoxicating scent of wood burning. That last little bit of information, however, is a real sign of danger, as being able to smell a wood fire burning in the fireplace, even in small amounts, is a sure sign that your chimney is not functioning properly.

Dangerous Combustion Byproducts

Fireplaces provide a lot of things we want: heat, light, ambiance, and a soothing crackle. The combustion happening in the fireplace, however, also provides byproducts we don’t want or need—smoke and toxic gases. Wood smoke in your home contains one or more of the following: hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that can cause cancer, fine particle pollution (ash) that damages lung tissue and creates respiratory problems, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, and/or nitrogen oxides. It is your chimney’s job to contain and remove those byproducts from your home. A poorly performing chimney is allowing those harmful byproducts to remain in your living space, thereby diminishing the quality of the air in your home.

Indoor Air Quality and your Health

Your poorly functioning chimney inevitably has a negative effect on the quality of the air in your home, especially for children, elderly family members, and those with lung cancer and/or heart disease. Smoke can have a marked effect on people with respiratory issues (e.g., asthma). Another major concern of a poorly functioning chimney is that it can allow colorless, odorless—and toxic—CO gases to remain in your home. It is a natural byproduct of the wood burning process, and, because you cannot see or smell it, it can make you sick without your even knowing it’s there. As a matter of fact, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can even be deadly.

Small Things All Homeowners Can Do

There are small things you as a homeowner can do to improve the quality of the air in your home. Open the flue when using your fireplace. Have your chimney and fireplace inspected by a CSIA-certified technician annually to keep it running at the optimal level. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home if you don’t have them installed already. Improved ventilation will improve air quality by increasing the amount of fresh outdoor air coming into your home, which will help to dilute the concentrations of indoor pollutants and push stale indoor air out of your home. It’s also extremely important to make sure that the chimney is properly sealed. A well-vented, tight-fitting fireplace/chimney combination will move those harmful gases up and out of your home, which will greatly improve the overall quality of the air remaining inside.

Yearly chimney inspections and cleanings will go a long way to improving the overall indoor air quality in your home. The trained staff at Total Chimney Care is at the ready to help you increase the overall air quality in your home with the extensive list of fireplace and chimney services. Contact us today to schedule all of your necessary services.