More than 20,000 people visit emergency rooms in the U.S. annually due to carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide is dangerous for people of all ages (especially infants and elderly), and it is completely undetectable, with no odor, color, or taste. The only way to prevent exposure is to install a detector and make sure it has batteries. A carbon monoxide detector doesn’t prevent exposure, any more than a smoke alarm prevents a fire. A working alarm/detector allows time for a safe escape, and when carbon monoxide is leaking, time is important. Make an escape plan for your family (including two ways out) and practice it regularly. Homeowners can take steps to prevent carbon monoxide exposure, as well.
Steps to Prevent
1. Schedule routine maintenance for fire-burning appliances. Make sure your gas range is installed and working properly. Schedule annual inspections and routine sweeps of your chimney system in order to make sure there are no damage or missing parts. If your chimney hasn’t been inspected in the last 12 months, do not use it.
2. Do not attempt chimney repairs or installations yourself. You should hire a certified chimney sweep to install new appliances and components to your chimney system. White Glove Chimney and Air Duct installs, repairs, and services hearth products with professional and expert services. Customer safety is our #1 priority, and that doesn’t mean fire safety only. Regular chimney maintenance helps keep families safe from carbon monoxide poisoning as well. A missing or damaged liner can allow carbon monoxide to seep into your house. A rusted damper can prevent the fire from venting through the chimney, pushing smoke and carbon monoxide into the house. The same can occur if the efficiency of the chimney system drops.
3. Do not use portable heaters or other fueled appliances indoors (unless they are electric). Any appliance that burns fuel or chemicals should be used only according to manufacturer’s instructions. In case of power outage, do not use a generator indoors. The best way to heat your home during a power outage is by using your chimney system that is in good working condition and inspected by a professional.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A carbon monoxide leak can lead to a slow exposure that damages organs over time, or a fast exposure that can land a resident in the hospital with sudden and severe brain damage. In order to avoid irreparably damage or death, get to know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. They can be hard to distinguish because they are similar to common cold or flu.
–Nausea and vomiting
–Altered states of consciousness
Severe symptoms can present with a range from mental illness to heart attack. Carbon monoxide poisoning leads to organ failure, and you may not come back to full health. The best way to protect yourself is to prevent it altogether.
Still not sure your chimney, fireplace, and home are safe? Call White Glove Chimney and Air Duct today!