How to Keep the Carbon Monoxide from Building Up When You Have a Roaring Fire in Your Fireplace

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Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer, because sometimes people aren’t aware that they are at risk of being poisoned by this gas.  This poisonous gas is created when fuels that contain carbon do not burn completely.  Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so it is possible for people to be exposed and not even be aware of it. 

Here are 4 tips to keep the carbon monoxide from building up when you have a fire burning:

  • Open the damper: To ensure that the smoke and carbon monoxide exit your home, you will want to make sure that the damper is open every time that you start a fire. 
  • Have your chimney cleaned: We recommend that you have your chimney cleaned once a year, to remove the build-up of creosote and any debris that may have fallen into your chimney.  The professional who is cleaning your chimney can also remove any nests that animals may have made or the animals themselves, who decided to call your chimney home. 
  • Open a window: To ensure that the room where the fire is burning is receiving enough fresh oxygen, we recommend that you crack a window open.  This will add enough oxygen to the space while allowing the carbon monoxide to find a way to escape your home. 
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector: A carbon monoxide detector will let you know when small levels of carbon monoxide are present inside your home.  This lifesaving device can prevent death and will make you realize that you have a major problem that needs to be addressed before you can use your fireplace again. 

If you experience any of the following symptoms while there is a fire burning in your fireplace, we recommend that you exit your home immediately and call the fire department.

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of consciousness

These symptoms suggest that you may have been in a room where carbon monoxide was present and we always say that it is better to be safe than sorry, so you should have it checked out immediately.  The fire department can come and extinguish the fire in your fireplace and then check your home for higher levels of carbon monoxide. 

Safety is your number one priority when you have a fire burning, so you will want to make sure that you have taken the proper steps to ensure that you and your family are safe when you are all relaxing in front of the warm and cozy fire. 

The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified and we have years of experience under our belts. We strive to continue our education as often as possible so we’re always in the position to offer you the best possible chimney services in Drexel Hill and all along the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney needs or to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, or chimney repair.

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