Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips for Chimneys and Furnaces
Winter is here. And while you’ve probably fired up the furnace and stocked up on firewood already have you studied up on carbon monoxide safety?
A common output of malfunctioning or improperly used appliances, carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that’s nicknamed the “silent killer” because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. Furnaces, stoves, ovens, water heaters and blocked chimney vents can all be potential sources of carbon monoxide, or CO.
So, how do you protect yourself and your family? Here are some important safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that can help keep you and your loved ones safe from carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.
Furnace and Chimney Safety Precautions
- Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected annually by a professional. This includes your furnace, water heater, wood stove and any portable heaters.
- Make sure the damper is opened and clear of debris before using a fireplace.
- Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
- When purchasing new appliances, look for products that have been tested and are labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside and is kept clear and unblocked.
- Damaged or discolored bricks at the top of your chimney, moisture around the windows and walls near a furnace and excessive rust on vent pipes or the outside of appliances can all be signs of a potential CO problem. Call in a professional if you spot these signs, says the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
CO Alarm Testing and Replacement
- Run a test on your CO alarms at least once a month, and replace them if they aren’t responding correctly. Sensors in carbon monoxide alarms have a limited life, says the NFPA.
- A CO alarm isn’t a substitute for a smoke alarm and vice versa. You should familiarize yourself with the different sounds each alarm makes.
- If the carbon monoxide detector is beeping, get outside immediately. If anyone’s having symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 and don’t go back inside until emergency officials say it’s safe to do so, states ADT. If no one has symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, contact your local fire department.
Proper ventilation, a regular cleaning and a working early-CO-detection alarm are your biggest allies when it comes to helping prevent a carbon monoxide buildup this winter.
Story courtesy of ADT Security Services.
Originally published on January 31, 2013.