With all the snow storms and blizzards the Northern States are currently enduring, our fireplaces and heating systems are working on overtime. Yes, it is important to stay warm throughout the winter months but we must be careful not to accidentally gas poison our families. Something people don’t realize is all that work our chimneys put into keeping us warm, produces a byproduct gas called carbon monoxide. The sad truth is that without regular maintenance and care, your chimney could cause you a lot of harm. Research shows that approximately 200 people in the U.S. die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by problems in their ventilation systems. In addition to that more than 10,000 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning go undiagnosed because the symptoms mimic the common winter fatigue.
This can all be avoided with a little information. First of all, what causes the carbon monoxide exposure and other problems within the ventilation systems? The fact that homes are mostly air tight these days causes carbon monoxide because it is naturally produced from furnaces, but with an air tight home, it has nowhere to escape except inside the home. If the chimney is clocked or clogged in any way, it could cause the carbon monoxide to leak back into living areas instead of outside. Also, even though people are buying more energy efficient appliances these days, the infrastructure remains the same. These same appliances are still venting through old systems that are not always completely compatible with the new technology causing carbon monoxide leaks to happen.
How can we avoid all of this?
To start, we can check out agencies that help with cleaning and inspection of chimneys. These agencies offer tips and guidelines to follow to maintain our chimneys. We can also make sure our boilers or furnaces are clear and free of blockages and keep all our appliances in proper working order. For those who don’t have the money to hire professional chimney sweepers, there are products that can be purchased at the local hardware store or online to do your own chimney cleaning. Vital Oxide is one such product that eliminates odor-causing organisms in HVAC systems and air ducts. This particular product is odorless, eliminates carbon monoxide and leaves no unwanted chemical byproducts in the home. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, taking the time to properly maintain our chimneys and furnaces each year is a necessary task. It protects our families from carbon monoxide poisoning.