Known as “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless toxic gas that is given off by any burning fuel, which means that your fireplace or stove produces it. Responsible for killing hundreds of Americans each year, carbon monoxide also causes thousands of people to visit the hospital. One of the greatest dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning is its symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue, closely resemble those of the flu and the common cold. Because of these similar symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning. If left undetected, this illness can quickly lead to organ damage and death. Owning a home with a fireplace or stove requires you to be aware of the possibility of carbon monoxide leaks, and The Mad Hatter would like to share some safety tips you can use when maintaining your fireplace or stove this winter.
INSTALL CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR ALARMS IN YOUR HOME.
The most important way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, installing carbon monoxide detector alarms in your house can alert you if this toxic gas has leaked into your living space. You should install these alarms in the room of your heating appliance, outside of every bedroom, and on each level of your home.
OPEN YOUR DAMPER COMPLETELY.
Before starting a fire, you should be sure the damper is fully opened. Do not close the damper until the remaining ashes have cooled. Ensuring the damper is open whenever a fire is burning can help to avoid the possibility of carbon monoxide getting into your home. It also gives the fire enough air to burn efficiently.
HAVE YOUR CHIMNEY PROFESSIONALLY INSPECTED ANNUALLY.
When The Mad Hatter performs chimney inspections, we look for things like nests from birds and animals, leaves, and soot that could be blocking the chimney. When the chimney is blocked, carbon monoxide can be forced back into your home. We also recommend that your chimney be capped to keep out debris as well as animals from entering to nest.
WATCH WHAT YOU BURN.
Never burn painted or treated wood in your fireplace or stove. The best type of firewood to burn is wood that has been seasoned, or dried, for at least six months after being cut. You should also stay away from using gasoline or other accelerants to start a fire in your home.
BE EXTRA CAREFUL WITH GAS LOGS.
If you have ventless gas logs, you should be aware that they can produce a lot of carbon monoxide. Slightly opening a window in the room can provide extra air needed to complete the combustion process, which lessens the production of this toxic gas.
At The Mad Hatter, safety is our top concern. Contact us if you have any questions about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning.