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Avoiding the Silent Killer, Carbon Monoxide

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When outdoor temperatures drop, it also gets colder inside our homes. Almost automatically, we turn on the heat and adjust the thermostat to a comfortable indoor temperature. However, many of us never consider whether our furnace exhaust system is up for the task. The furnace connector pipe and chimney make up this exhaust system and they must operate in a safe and efficient manner.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Safety is top priority for gas and oil furnace manufacturers so consumers have reason to assume their home heating systems will work properly. However, each time the system runs, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 200 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year due to the venting of toxic gases that home heating systems generate.

Carbon-monoxide-related injuries are even more common, with approximately 10,000 cases diagnosed annually. Many people mistake low-level carbon monoxide poisoning for winter health issues. However, some people experiencing dizziness, fatigue, headaches, or seasonal depression are really suffering from prolonged carbon monoxide poisoning. Only when their heart, brain, or other tissues or organs suffer permanent damage do they discover their true condition.

Annual inspection and maintenance of the chimney system can prevent this deadly situation. Energy-efficient home construction and heating appliances may seem positive from a homeowner standpoint but they also contribute to carbon monoxide poisoning. With less fresh air entering the home, limited routes for polluted air to leave, and less than optimal system performance, a very risky situation may develop.

A professional chimney inspection reveals contributing conditions like buildup of soot, a deteriorating or damaged liner, a clogged passageway, or obstruction of the flue. It also identifies whether the chimney is the correct size for the heating system. Chimney cleaning removes soot deposits and other debris that may build up and prevent carbon monoxide from venting out of the home.