The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Build-Up


Those cool nights of autumn, the freezing storms of winter, and the chilly evenings of spring. All of these are made so cozy by sitting in front of a crackling fire. Getting together with family members or just playing games for a quiet evening in, you gather around the fireplace. However, inside that warm scene lurks a hidden danger: carbon monoxide. It’s important to understand this dangerous gas and the precautions you can take to avoid a tragic situation.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Build-Up Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepWhat is Carbon Monoxide

When you burn a fire in your fireplace, carbon monoxide is formed. This gas is colorless and odorless, which makes it virtually impossible to detect until symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning occur. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states that carbon monoxide is formed when any type of fuel is burned. Whether in your car, furnace, or even your fireplace. If carbon monoxide is allowed to build up in your house, it can cause illness and even death.

How Does Carbon Monoxide Invade Your Home

Today’s homes are built tight. This is great when it comes to paying your energy bill, because a tight home will be more energy efficient. For people who use their fireplace, however, this can be a problem. The carbon monoxide that’s formed when a fire is burning needs a place to escape, which in older homes is not a problem because there are some chinks that give this gas a place to sneak out. With today’s energy efficient homes, that doesn’t happen. If you have a new home, one simple solution is to crack a window slightly when you are enjoying a fire in your fireplace. It is also important that you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home, do monthly battery checks, and replace the batteries every six months.

Symptoms To Be Aware Of

Whether you take these precautions or not, you can still experience a carbon monoxide build-up. That’s why it’s important to know and take notice of symptoms that can occur if a build-up is present. The Mayo Clinic website lists some of the following symptoms that may indicate you have a problem:

  • shortness of breath
  • confusion
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • dull headache
  • blurry vision

Pets can display these symptoms as well, so if you and/or other living creatures in your home are exhibiting these symptoms, be sure to have them checked out immediately. Be aware that a loss of consciousness can take place in extreme situations; do not let it get to that point because death will occur if not removed from the premises.

What To Do

The best thing to do to avoid a carbon monoxide build-up is to install carbon monoxide detectors and have your chimney cleaned and inspected on a yearly basis by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep company like Pozzi Chimney Sweep. We are educated on the latest regulations and chimney cleaning and inspection techniques, and we are dedicated to giving their customers the best service possible. Now that spring is here, it’s the perfect time to schedule your annual inspection and cleaning!