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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide is a real danger and the cause of 20,000 exposure-related ER visits per year in America alone. You can’t smell it, see it, or taste it. It is called the silent killer because people can be poisoned suddenly, or over time and never realize it. Symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu, so it’s often overlooked. Because it is almost undetectable, the best way to preventCarbon Monoxide Poisoning - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney Services poisoning is to prevent carbon monoxide intrusion.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced naturally any time fuel is burned. Your fireplace produces it at high rates while a fire is burning, and your chimney vents it. It’s when the chimney isn’t working properly that intrusion can occur.

A Draft Problem

If your fireplace is smoky, you have a draft problem. This means the chimney isn’t venting properly, and smoke along with other toxins, including carbon monoxide are entering the home.

Firebox Damage

Damage to the masonry of the fireplace can allow carbon monoxide intrusion into the home. Holes and cracks in mortar can allow smoke and vapors through into the home.

Missing or Damaged Liner

If the liner becomes damaged or is missing, the gases in the chimney will penetrate the porous masonry of the chimney and enter your home.

A Clogged or Damaged Dryer Vent

The chimney is not the only ventilation system in your house that vents a heat appliance. Clothes dryers also produce carbon monoxide which can lead to CO poisoning if the dryer vent is damaged or clogged.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Intrusion

  1. Keep your chimney and fireplace maintained properly. This includes scheduling regular chimney sweeps and annual inspections to insure your chimney is venting properly at it’s safest and highest efficiency. At these important service appointments a certified chimney sweep will get a good look at your entire system, clean it up, and offer a detailed report of necessary repairs and actions.
  2. Burn only properly seasoned wood so that your chimney system is more efficient.
  3. Make sure the damper is opened when the fireplace is in use. If the damper becomes damaged or stuck closed, do not burn a fire until the damper assembly is closed. The damper can cause smoke and carbon monoxide to push into the home instead of up the chimney.
  4. Check your gas fireplace monthly: visually check hinges, bolts, and gaskets that are designed to prevent smoke and carbon monoxide from entering the home while your gas fireplace is burning.
  5. Check your dryer vents regularly for leaks and clogs. Have them professionally installed and within code regulations. It is recommended to have dryer vents cleaned annually.
  6. Purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector. This simple and inexpensive action may save the lives of your loved ones.

As with anything else, it is best to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning than to treat it. A slow leak can cause organ damage over time that is irreparable. A large leak can cause sudden death. Prevention is key.

If you’re not certain your home is safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, contact Chief Chimney Services today for expert advice and swift service.

By John Pilger on February 27th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Your home is your safe place, where you and your family gather to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. Because of this, you want to keep your home as safe and free from harm as possible. There are many dangers present inside a home, and a little due diligence, care and maintenance can help protect you and your family from harm.

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Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide is a big concern for many homeowners, because they know it is something to fear but don’t necessarily understand what it is. Simply put, carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is extremely poisonous. Carbon monoxide is most commonly produced from fuels that have not been burned completely such as wood, oil, natural gas and charcoal. Appliances that use these types of fuel can leave behind carbon monoxide and should be handled with extreme care.

Carbon Monoxide And Wood-Burning Heaters

Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are of particular concern to many homeowners because they can emit carbon monoxide. This is of even greater concern during the winter months when wood-burning appliances are more frequently used to heat homes across the US. Luckily for homeowners, there are many things you can do to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide from entering your home.

Safe Wood-Burning Practices

With some simple safe practices, you can alleviate the risk of carbon monoxide. First and foremost, use your fireplace or wood stove according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and only use wood-burning heating appliances you are completely confident you know how to operate. Unsafe handling of any wood stove or fireplace is a surefire way to use it incorrectly and unsafely.

Additionally, always store your wood outdoors where it is protected from the elements because seasoned wood that is properly dried will burn hotter than other types of wood. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a moisture content of less than twenty percent. You want to burn fires that are as hot as possible, and dry wood, as well as dry kindling is the first step to that. Never burn wood that is rotted, moldy or wet. Other safe burning practices include:

Making sure your fires are lit in a well-ventilated area.

Never burning painted, pressure-treated wood or particleboard because these will emit chemicals.

Never burn household garbage in your heating appliance.

Regularly remove ashes from the firebox.

Burn fires as hot as possible. Remember, a smoldering fire may not be a safe fire.

You also want to keep your fireplace/stove and chimney as clean as possible to allow fires to burn extremely hot. A professional chimney sweeping company like Chief Chimney Services, Inc in Suffolk County is committed to keeping your chimney clean, professionally swept and free of any harmful residue. We want your fireplace to work efficiently, but more important than that, we are passionate about keeping you and your family safe from harmful build-up and the potential threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. Take every preventative measure possible when it comes to keeping your home safe, and start with a clean, efficient fireplace or stove that your family can enjoy for years to come.

Signs You Need a Chimney Inspection

Pay close attention to the warning signs displayed by your chimney. Have it inspected as soon as possible.

Pay close attention to the warning signs displayed by your chimney. Have it inspected as soon as possible.

When you aren’t feeling well you often times will go see a doctor. Your chimney however, cannot tell you when it is not in top shape so you need to watch for the warning signs that come along with the need for chimney maintenance. Also, you should have at least one chimney sweep and inspection every year. If you sense that something is going wrong inside of your chimney it is important to call your trusted technician immediately. If you need someone, the professionals at Chief Chimney Services!

What are the warning signs?

  • Cracks in the structure or mold build-up

After the winter season cracks can begin to form in the chimney’s structure from the constant freezing and thawing of precipitation. This can cause the caulk to crack and water to have a place to collect. This water can turn to mold in as little as one or two days. With careful chemical treatments, mold can be removed. Most technicians will recommend waterproofing after the chimney is back in order to prevent similar instances in the future.

  • Odors have begun to make appearances in your home

When creosote is released from firewood it clumps together and slowly begins to block your chimney. When temperatures get warm and humid, the clumps will begin to cause a foul odor. Most people think that having a sweep will rid the odor, but in actuality it will only reduce it once the creosote has had time to soak into the structure. This is one reason you should keep your maintenance up to date.

Also, blockages caused by creosote can cause draft problems. When this happens air cannot properly exit the home and the room will fill with smoke. This can also lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning which can be fatal.

How do you know that your technician is qualified?

When hiring a techinican it’s important to make sure you have the right person. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has a few suggestions on how to hire the best for your chimney. Check how long the company has been in business. Also check to see if they have references or reviews from real clients. Lastly, make sure they are CSIA certified.

How do you prepare your home for the inspection?

You have nothing to worry about when your chimney gets its inspection. A few things you can do to help with the process is to not burn a fire for 24 hours and clean the area around the fireplace where the technicians have room to work. Also, lock up all pets for their safety.

Creosote in the Chimney

Dealing with Creosote Build-up inside the Home

What’s that black, shiny, coal-like substance that’s starting to accumulate in your chimney walls? That’s creosote and it can get thicker and thicker if not removed by a certified sweep. It can lead to bigger problems like negative air pressure and worse, a house fire. Here at Chief Chimney, we take this very seriously and encourage homeowners to have their chimney inspected annually. The safety, security and stability of your home is at stake and we want to make sure that you and your family get maximum enjoyment without having to worry about chimney problems.

Creosote forms naturally when you burn anything. However, you need to ensure that it is removed regularly to keep it from building up.

Creosote forms naturally when you burn anything. However, you need to ensure that it is removed regularly to keep it from building up.

Creosote is the result of incomplete combustion of wood and coal products that eventually forms tar. The residue of smoke that comes out of it results in soot build-up or what we earlier identified as creosote.  It sticks to the chimney walls and in the chimney flues making it harder for air to exhaust out into the open via the chimney flue.

As experts we look out for these three things:

  • The length of time creosote has been inside the chimney
  • The thickness of the creosote
  • The color, texture and odor of the creosote

Through this, we can determine the level of creosote. Once we know what level your creosote has reached, we perform the task of literally scraping them out by use of a specific, unique kind of brush that can thoroughly clean the inside of your chimney. However, if creosote has already become too thick, we can do weekly scraping to somehow lessen the thickness but completely getting it out of your chimney, unfortunately, is not possible. That’s why it is always important to have your chimneys inspected and cleaned annually (and more often if you use your fireplace often) to see if creosote has started to build-up in your furnaces.

With regards to your health, creosote definitely poses a threat. It can cause toxic air or carbon monoxide to fill the room and poison you — make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

There are many ways for creosote to destroy your home but don’t allow it to happen. Call on us! We will remove and clean your chimney making it creosote-free. Our experts can help you understand the risks and damages of what creosote can do to your home and also to your health. We can assure you the money you invest in us is definitely worth it.