Carbon monoxide poisoning is common in workplaces, with tens of thousands of people requiring immediate medical attention every year. Some of these cases also happened in houses and are suspected of having been caused by fireplaces. But can a fireplace really give off carbon monoxide?
Fireplaces don’t necessarily give off carbon monoxide, but there’s a huge possibility for it. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to detect the presence of CO besides using a detector. Ensure your safety by making sure that your fireplace goes through regular maintenance inspections to avoid CO poisoning.
In this article, we’ll talk about all the risks involved in carbon monoxide poisoning and the reasons why a fireplace produces it. Stick around because this will also help you avoid a life-threatening misconception that most people have when it comes to carbon monoxide.
How Do I Know if My Fireplace Has Carbon Monoxide?
Before we dive deep into this discussion, let’s make something very clear: fireplaces don’t necessarily produce carbon monoxide (CO). However, it’s a possibility that you should always look into because CO is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas. People treated for carbon monoxide poisoning didn’t even know they’re inhaling it.
A fireplace is a common carbon monoxide source inside houses because it forms when gas, fuel, oil, or wood do not fully burn. When you light up a fireplace in an enclosed space, it uses the oxygen in that area and replaces it with carbon dioxide. The lack of oxygen causes these materials to stop burning, which then produces carbon monoxide.
However, with proper maintenance and setup, it’s easy to prevent this from happening, which is why fireplaces don’t necessarily produce carbon monoxide. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to physically detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the air without using a carbon monoxide detector.
How To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
According to the CDC, at least 50,000 people visit the emergency rooms every year due to carbon monoxide poisoning. There are even more unreported cases because some symptoms are similar to flu or a bad cold. Carbon monoxide poisoning may even cause sudden death, making it crucial to keep your home free from harmful gas.
If you have a fireplace, investing in a reliable carbon monoxide detector is the easiest way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember, people can’t see, smell, or taste this gas. A detector is the only reliable way to detect its presence in the area — some experts even refer to it as the ‘silent killer.’
Installing multiple CO detectors in your house will not only help detect its presence but also help you determine areas with CO, making it easier to prevent poisoning and address the issue.
Aside from this, if you have a gas- or wood-burning fireplace, it would be best to hire a professional, at least once a year, to conduct maintenance inspections and clean up the chimney. Even if you never had problems with your fireplace, it’s a preventive measure that minimizes the risk of CO poisoning inside your house.
Regular clean-up of your chimney also ensures that you have proper ventilation for your fireplace. Removing any debris that blocks the chimney could cause a build-up of carbon monoxide from all the combustible gases it produces.
If you already have routine annual maintenance for your fireplace, and you noticed that there’s rust, water streaking, or a disconnected or loose connection in the vent, it would still be best to call a professional as soon as possible.
Will Opening Windows Help Dissipate Carbon Monoxide?
Some people believe that opening windows in a room is a common way to dissipate carbon monoxide. However, even if you let fresh air inside the room, there’s a chance that carbon monoxide will still linger. And since there’s no way for an individual to detect its presence, this misconception could even make things worse for homeowners.
Although proper ventilation can help prevent fireplaces from producing carbon monoxide, it may not be effective in getting rid of them. If you detect carbon monoxide in your house, it would be best to contact the fire department. If you suspect poisoning, don’t take it lightly, and be sure to contact a healthcare professional right away.
Carbon monoxide can cause sudden death, and people may not even be aware that they’re inhaling it. Although fireplaces don’t always produce carbon monoxide, it can still happen. So, homeowners should be aware of it and prevent it from happening in the first place.
We hope you enjoyed these tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember, carbon monoxide is a natural chemical reaction that can occur from your fireplace from combustion, and the best way to deal with it is through early detection and prevention. That’s why experts always advise homeowners to consider investing in reliable detectors and ensure that they have regular maintenance inspections for added security if they’re planning to install a fireplace. Don’t forget to keep your chimney clean and periodically check to make sure all your carbon monoxide detectors are working for added security.
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