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The Deadly Impact of Carbon Monoxide

It’s that time of year: People light their fireplaces, heat their homes with stoves and kick their furnaces into full gear. With heavier use of combustion appliances, as well as closed-up windows and doors, something else becomes common: carbon monoxide poisoning. When carbon monoxide finds its way into homes, it can have serious, and sometimes deadly, consequences.

Impacts of carbon monoxide

The problem with carbon monoxide is that it fools the body while depriving it of oxygen. When you breathe in carbon monoxide, the carbon monoxide attaches to your blood instead of oxygen. At all levels of exposure, carbon monoxide can cause ill effects, including:

  • Fatigue. Healthy people exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide will feel tired and run down, no matter how much sleep they get.
  • Chest pains. People with weak cardiovascular systems may experience chest pains when exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Reduced brain function. People experiencing moderate carbon monoxide exposure might find their brains foggy and have difficulty focusing. As carbon monoxide exposure increases, people might become confused and disoriented, or even become dizzy.
  • Impaired vision. Exposure to carbon monoxide at high levels or prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause blurred or otherwise impaired vision.
  • Flu-like symptoms. People who are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide can feel nauseated, achy, and suffer from headaches.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home

At any level, carbon monoxide poses a danger to your home. That’s why you need to be sure you’re doing all you can to protect yourself and your family from a buildup of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some important steps to take to keep your home and family safe include:

Having all vented appliances cleaned and inspected at least once per year. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion, and all combustion appliances will let off carbon dioxide. Having your fireplace, chimney, heating stove, furnace and dryer vent cleaned and inspected at least once per year ensures that vents are cleared and properly exhausting carbon monoxide from your home, while having these appliances inspected ensures that they aren’t malfunctioning and emitting carbon monoxide into your home.

  • Never run a car in a closed garage.
  • Don’t use camp stoves, grills, lanterns or other outdoor combustion items indoors.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor in your home, and near sleeping areas, and check detectors regularly to make sure they are in good working order.

Let Your Chimney Sweep help keep your home safe!

Keep your family safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, and let Your Chimney Sweep help! We can clean, service and inspect your combustion appliances and vents, including fireplaces, heating stoves, furnace flues and dryer vents. Call Your Chimney Sweep today to schedule your services and lower your home’s carbon monoxide risk this winter.

By Joe Sauter on December 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The temperatures drop and we flip on our furnaces. Tossing clothes in our gas dryers and cooking on gas stove tops. We light fires in our fireplaces or heating stoves and heat our water in gas-fueled water heaters. In addition, we drive cars with combustion engines.

These may be unremarkable facts of our daily lives, but we should be paying attention to all of these things. The combustion appliances that fill our homes create carbon monoxide. What happens if a system isn’t well maintained, malfunctions, or is improperly used? It puts us and our families in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Most people know the dangers of carbon monoxide and hope to protect their families from the dangers of the gas. Nevertheless, an estimated 200 people or more die each year and thousands more are sickened by carbon monoxide in their homes. There are steps you should be taking to keep you and your family safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Those steps include:

  • Performing annual maintenance and cleaning of gas- and oil-burning appliances.
    If your gas- or oil-fueled appliances or their vents fail, carbon monoxide can build up rapidly within your home. For that reason, appliances that require combustion should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year. That includes furnaces, fireplaces, heating stoves, gas-fueled clothing dryers and hot water heaters.
  • Keeping vents clear.
    Heating and dryer vents can become obstructed for a variety of reasons. Snow can pile high around outdoor vents in the winter. Animals can nest within unprotected vents. Contractors or do-it-yourself-ers can inadvertently cover vents during renovations. Check vents regularly and after major weather events to make sure they are free to exhaust your appliances.
  • Never operate combustion appliances in non-ventilated areas.
    Cars should never be left running in garages, even with the doors open. Gas generators should never be run within the home. In addition, outdoor appliances like camp stoves, portable heaters, and grills should never be operated indoors.

Install a carbon monoxide detector!

Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home and near all sleeping areas. Check your carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are operating properly at least once a month. Replace batteries at least twice per year. (You can do this when daylight savings time switches, along with changing the batteries in your smoke detectors.)

Always make sure all family members know what to do, should the carbon monoxide detectors sound. Exit the home quickly and call 911. Do not go back into your home until the source of the carbon monoxide has been located and the leak has been fixed.

Carbon monoxide is a legitimate threat. Consequently, it can sicken or even kill. However, take precautions! Maintain your home appliances and install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors. In doing this, you can help to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.