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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

What is creosote?

As chimney cleaning professionals, we’re constantly bombarding you with messages about creosote. “Have your chimney cleaned from dangerous creosote.” “Creosote can lead to a dangerous chimney fire.” “Creosote is the biggest hazard to your chimney’s safety.” Too infrequently, however, we don’t explain what creosote is or how creosote can threaten your chimney and your home’s safety. In this blog, we’re going to lay give you the inside scoop on creosote: How it forms, how it endangers your chimney and how you can keep creosote at bay.

What is Creosote - Indianapolis IN - Your Chimney Sweep

What is creosote?

Creosote is a highly flammable byproduct of the fires you burn in your fireplace. You know your fire produces smoke. As that smoke travels up your chimney it cools, and condensation forms on the walls of your chimney. When that condensation hardens, it becomes creosote. Creosote can be sticky and tarlike or smooth and shiny. It can be muddy brown or dark, dark black. In most chimneys, creosote can exist in multiple forms and usually does.

What dangers does creosote pose?

The primary danger creosote poses is the risk of a chimney fire. Creosote is highly flammable. If it reaches a high enough temperature, or if a stray ember from your fire enters the chimney and comes into contact with the creosote, it can ignite and cause a chimney fire, putting your home at risk. Creosote also can block off your chimney’s opening, preventing smoke and carbon dioxide from the fireplace. A blockage can force smoke and carbon dioxide back into your home, posing a danger to your family’s health. Creosote also poses some less sever risks. Like most fire byproducts, creosote is acidic and can cause corrosion or damage to your chimney’s flue. In the warm summer months, creosote also can cause a foul smell to fill your home.

How can you keep the dangers of creosote at bay?

The best way to protect your chimney and your home from the dangers of creosote is with regular chimney sweepings. Your annual chimney sweeping will clear any creosote away from your chimney, dramatically lowering your risk of a chimney fire. Your annual inspection also will screen your chimney for signs of a previous creosote-induced chimney fire. You also can reduce creosote buildup in your chimney by burning a hot, efficient fire. Burn only dried, seasoned firewood that is properly sized for your fireplace. Always fully open fireplace doors so your fire can draw in enough oxygen to keep it burning at its hottest. Make sure your damper is opening fully, as a partially closed damper can cause smoke to linger in your flue, causing creosote to form more rapidly in your chimney.

Call Your Chimney Sweep today to protect your chimney from the dangers of creosote. Our certified chimney sweeps will remove dangerous creosote from your chimney and look for any signs of fire damage in your chimney’s flue. We also can advise you on keeping your chimney creosote free and keeping your family safe from the dangers of a creosote-sparked chimney fire.

By Joe Sauter on March 13th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment