Building a fire on a snowy afternoon can bring such warmth and comfort to a room. Just the smell and the crackling sounds alone can make you feel more relaxed and happy. However, it’s important that homeowners are aware of the dangers that exist when using the fireplace. The most important? Carbon monoxide poisoning.

What is Carbon Monoxide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced when you burn fuel. This can be in your car, in your furnace, or in your fireplace. If this gas is allowed to build up in your home, you can become ill or even die!

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. The first hint that you may have an excess of it in your home may be how you feel. Excess levels of carbon monoxide can give you symptoms that resemble the flu: headache, weakness, chest pain, dizziness, and vomiting may occur. Confusion can also occur. Extended periods of exposure to carbon monoxide can cause you to pass out, and death can follow. However, even if levels of carbon monoxide aren’t extremely high, it has been proven that exposure to even low levels of carbon monoxide can endanger your health.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Build-Up

Surprisingly enough, one of the causes of extensive carbon monoxide build-up is having a home that is too tightly constructed. Today’s modern homes are built to be as efficient as possible. This means making sure that cold air can’t get in. The fact is, these areas where cold air can enter are also areas where carbon monoxide can escape. According to the CSIA website, “the new breed of high-efficiency gas and oil furnaces – when vented in to existing chimney flues – often do not perform at an optimum level. The differences in performance create conditions that allow toxic gases to more easily enter home living spaces.”

What Can Be Done

The best defense against carbon monoxide build-up is a clean chimney system. Not only does the Chimney Safety Institute of America recognize this, but so does a wide variety of other organizations. These include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Agency, and the American Lung Association. All of them recommend you have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis. In addition, by a certified chimney sweep company like Michael’s Chimney Service.

Another important tip is to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Also, always make sure that you check and change the batteries on a regular basis!

Who To Call

The expert technicians at Michael’s Chimney Service are CSIA certified. They stay up-to-date on all rules and regulations regarding your fireplace and chimney system. Michael’s Chimney Service works hard to ensure that your fireplace runs efficiently and effectively. Your safety is their highest concern! Trust Michael’s to inspect and clean your chimney. Afterwards, sit back and enjoy that comforting, crackling fire with no worries that carbon monoxide is an unwelcome guest.