Whenever a fire is burning in your fireplace, byproducts are released that need to be vented out of the home. These byproducts include soot, creosote, particulate pollution, carbon monoxide, and other harmful gases. We most often see smoke, and know to stay away from it and avoid inhaling it, but the real danger is hidden in the smoke, and sometimes is often completely invisible.
Many homeowners are not aware of the real threat of dysfunctional fireplaces and chimneys, and that is carbon monoxide. It’s the invisible and silent cause of 430 unintentional deaths per year and can be prevented in most cases.
Know the Symptoms
Carbon monoxide exposure is overlooked oftentimes because it presents as common ailments. It’s important to be aware of symptoms so that you can catch a carbon monoxide exposure before it results in serious injury or death.
- chest pain
- edema (swelling)
- memory loss
These symptoms persist for weeks sometimes before an accurate diagnosis is made, and by that time organs are fatally damaged, and death results. In other cases permanent organ failure or brain damage occurs. Knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can save a life or quality of life. There are other things to avoid exposure completely.
Fireplace and Chimney Safety
You can avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by making sure your fireplace and chimney are safe for use. Scheduling an annual chimney inspection will ensure that your chimney system is safe to use and will lower your risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Other routine maintenance like chimney sweeps will keep your chimney working properly, venting these harmful gases out of the home. Finally, knowing how to properly use your fireplace will help prevent exposure. Never burn a fire while the damper is closed. Never breath smoke, and do not attempt to clean your own chimney or make your own repairs.
Lastly, install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home to notify your family of carbon monoxide intrusion. Check the batteries in your detectors regularly and make a plan to leave the house safely and quickly in the event of the alarm sounding. Do not enter a house with a carbon monoxide leak because a fast or large leak can result in sudden injury, while a slow or small leak can result in slow organ and brain damage.
The best way to keep your family safe from fire, from carbon monoxide poisoning and other fire-related injuries is to practice fireplace safety, and to work with a trusted chimney professional for all of your comprehensive chimney needs. Anderson’s Chimney and Masonry Services puts your safety and comfort first. We strive to offer the best services and educate the public to maintain this safety.
Call Anderson’s if you are concerned about a carbon monoxide leak in your home. Talk to your healthcare provider immediately if you are concerned about exposure.