The CSIA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, reported recently that each year 200 Americans die and 10,000 carbon monoxide injuries are diagnosed from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by problems in the venting of toxic gases out of their homes.
Some of the symptoms, which could be mistaken for a common cold or the flu, are headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and even the winter blues. It’s important that if you are experiencing these symptoms you must contact a physician immediately. The next call would be to a professional home inspector or a professional chimney cleaner to determine the cause and solution.
These days, homebuilders are making homes airtight in order for homeowners to reduce heating costs. Another issue is that manufacturers are designing more efficient high-tech heating appliances that don`t perform up to standards when venting into chimney flues and in some cases they vent back into the home, resulting in unsafe carbon monoxide levels.
The dangerous fumes that are by-products of combustion range from creosote when gas and oil burn in vented heating systems should be vented out of the living space. Chimneys also create the draft that creates the additional air flow which optimizes of the heating appliance`s efficiency Unfortunately, the chimneys that homeowners use aren`t the correct size or because of age and deterioration are unable to perform effectively.
Annual chimney cleaning and inspections go a long way to remedying the problem. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Lung Association all encourage the regular maintenance of home heating systems and their chimneys in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. A regular chimney inspection which is performed before a chimney cleaning will uncover other problems such as flue liners, excessive creosote build-up, leaves and branches which are blocking the chimney, and animal or bird nests which are living in chimney flues.