Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can cause poisoning when you are exposed to it. It is a particularly dangerous threat because it is odorless, colorless and otherwise undetectable to the naked eye. When you are exposed to carbon monoxide you inhale the fumes, which prevents oxygen from reaching your organs. The most important thing you can do to protect you and your family from carbon monoxide dangers is to prevent exposure in the first place.
How Does Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Occur?
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs in several ways, but in residential homes the most common way is through the misuse of heating appliances. In homes where wood-burning heating appliances are used, by-products can be left behind in chimneys. Soot, animal debris and flaked off masonry can all lead to dangerous toxins being release inside the home. Additionally, homes that aren’t well-ventilated can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning because there isn’t efficient air-flow while heating appliances are in use. Lastly, misuse of heating appliances can lead to poisoning, especially if inappropriate materials are being used or the operator doesn’t understand all components of the appliance.
Damaged Chimneys Can Lead To Carbon Monoxide Dangers
In homes where chimneys are older or have not been properly maintained chimneys can become blocked or rusted and this can result in carbon monoxide and other toxins being released into the air. Backdrafting, a common occurrence when chimney dampers and flues are not operating properly, can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If you suspect you or someone in your home is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, look for these common symptoms:
- Loss of vision
- Loss of consciousness
While these symptoms may seem subtle, they are life threatening. If you see any of these symptoms, remove everyone from the area and get emergency medical care immediately.
Luckily for homeowners, there are ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning including:
- Invest in a carbon monoxide detector that will alert you if the dangerous gas is detected.
- Never use stand-alone heating appliances like space heaters in small, enclosed areas.
- Only use wood-burning appliances in well-ventilated areas.
- Make sure you understand how to operate ALL components of your chimney before you light your first fire.
- Only burn appropriate, chemical and paint free wood in your wood-burning appliance.
- Inspect your heating equipment before use to make sure it is operating properly.
The single most important thing you can do as a homeowner is have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year. Hire a professional and experienced chimney sweeping company like Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep serving the Boston, North Shore and Portland areas to inspect, repair and if necessary, rebuild your chimney. Having an airtight chimney with a working damper and flue is the best way to prevent carbon monoxide build-up from your heating system. Our certified chimney sweeps are ready to inspect your chimneys and recommend any necessary add-ons or repairs. Contact the best in chimney sweeping to keep your home free of carbon monoxide dangers.