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One Simple Step to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Intrusion This Heating Season


Last updated 10/6/2006 at Noon

Increased home-heating costs have driven thousands of new homeowners to purchase more efficient heating appliances within the past year. This heating season, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) reminds homeowners that responsible operation of new and existing heating appliances calls for annual maintenance to prevent both carbon monoxide from entering the home and the potential for chimney fires.

However, when high-efficiency gas and oil boilers or furnaces and woodstoves are installed to vent into existing chimneys, they often do not provide the level of efficiency expected by the homeowner or the manufacturer. It is only when the furnace, fireplace or insert and chimney are properly designed, installed and regularly maintained as complimentary components of a complete heating system that the best possible performance is assured.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that 69 percent of carbon monoxide poisoning deaths were related to home heating systems 1 and notes that proper installation, operation and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances (regardless of fuel type) is the most important factor in reducing the risk of CO poisoning.

During an annual chimney inspection, certified chimney sweeps identify improper installations, and verify that the chimney structure is sound and that the chimney is free of obstructions and combustible deposits, which would prevent toxic gases, like carbon monoxide, from entering the living space. CSIA recommends that annual chimney inspections be performed by individuals holding the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep credential, as they have passed the only nationally recognized exam to prepare them to expertly diagnose and resolve chimney and venting problems serving multiple appliance types.

In addition to having your chimney inspected annually, experts also recommend installing carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and in all sleeping areas. Place alarms in hallways or other large areas of the home, and away from corners, where they can measure the overall general atmosphere.

For further information on carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, chimney inspections and to locate a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, homeowners are encouraged to visit or call 1-800-536-0118.

1 Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products, 2002 Annual Estimates, USCPSC, August 29, 2005.


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