According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year over 400 people across the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Known as the “silent killer” carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas.
Carbon monoxide is harmful when breathed because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of carbon monoxide can overcome you in minutes without warning—causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate.
Carbon monoxide is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. It is also found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.”
How Can You Prevent Carbon Monoxide in Your Home?
To ensure the safety of your home, the CDC had made the following recommendation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
• Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
• Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
• If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
• Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
• Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home or cabin.
• Never patch a vent pipe with tape or other materials. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home.
• Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a buildup of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
• Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal gives off CO.
• Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors.
• Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
Remember that a chimney that is properly maintained and cleaned regularly – will work safely, effectively and efficiently. To ensure that your chimney is working effectively and safely, you should always have your chimney and fireplace checked and cleaned at least once a year by a professional. It is important to have a reputable and experienced chimney sweep properly inspect your chimney to ensure the safety of your home and most importantly, your family.
Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps offer complete chimney cleaning and maintenance services that include high powered vacuuming of your entire system, removing hazardous or combustible creosote, eliminating any accumulation of soot from coal and oil systems and thorough fire prevention and carbon monoxide inspections. Contact Pro-tech Chimney Sweeps at 631-806-8550 or 516-284-1295 to ensure the safety of your home.