a power outage caused by the windstorms in
December 2006, a gas generator killed an entire
family in Burien Washington. Carbon monoxide kills
nearly 150 Americans a year. This statistic drove
us to further research this topic. There are many
possible sources of carbon monoxide in a home, and
most people have no idea of the hazards they can
anyone that uses gas, oil or wood appliances and
fireplaces should heed these warnings to protect
themselves and their families from this
potentially fatal hazard. Furnaces, boilers, hot
water heaters, fireplaces, gas ranges, gas grills,
charcoal barbeques, cars, generators and gas
powered tools are all common sources of carbon
water heater has exhaust rollout. Improper
flue design or inadequate air supply can
cause combustion gases to vent into the
home. If your heater has these stains
please have it checked out.
combustion appliance exhaust leaks
When exhaust from appliances leak into homes the
results can be very serious, even deadly. All
types of heating systems with the exception of
electric heat have the possibility of back
drafting gases. Hot water heater, fireplaces,
clothes dryers, gasoline powered vehicles and
tools all produce toxic exhaust. Venting of these
are crucial for removing hazardous gases from your
home, and if improperly installed or maintained
serious hazards can result.
and bathroom fans, and window fans all force air
out of the house and can be a source of "back
drafting hazards". Care should be taken when
fans are exhausting the house. These can cause a
negative air pressure pulling gases backwards
through their flue dumping combustion gasses in
the home. With woodstoves or fireplaces, smoke
being drawn into the living space is obvious. The
evidence from other appliances is not always easy
to detect. This problem has been more evident in
today's tighter constructed homes. Older houses
typically had more air leaks providing a fresh air
supply for the fans. Carbon monoxide has no color
or odor and therefore, we recommend carbon
monoxide detectors in all homes.
In addition to
carbon monoxide, other combustion gases can be a
hazard. Carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and others
are often present. In the case of nitrogen oxide
exposure, there can be damage to lungs, exacerbate
colds and cause resperatory illnesses. High
concentrations of carbon dioxide will displace the
vital oxygen supply in the home. Your best
protection is to install carbon monoxide detectors
that are approved by Underwriters Laboratories.
Understand how they work, some are "hard
wired" others are battery powered. As with
smoke detectors, all battery powered detectors
must be on a regular maintenance schedule changing
the batteries and tested yearly. Remember, unlike
smoke detectors, when a carbon monoxide detector
goes off there is rarely any other evidence of the
hazard. Don't make the deadly mistake in assuming
that the unit is malfunctioning because there is
no odor or smoke.
monoxide safety checklist.
regular maintenance is the key. Common
problems to check for include breaches in the
heat exchanger, condensation in flues and
proper exhaust drafting at startup.
these appliance should have their burners
checked to assure proper venting and
combustion. A well adjusted burner produces
much less carbon monoxide and provides more
the case of an oil fired furnace this is
likely to pay for itself. Oil burners require
more precise adjustments and if properly
maintained the efficiency will be optimal,
saving precious fuel.
sure all combustion appliances have good
supply of fresh air. When air supply is
restricted they are much more likely to
produce high levels of carbon monoxide and
possibly have back drafting issues.
sealed units draw fresh combustion air from
outside. Consider replacing older style
appliances with those that have their own
dedicated air supply.
run cars, mowers, generators or other gas
powered devices in homes or garages.
use gas grills or charcoal barbeques indoors.
carbon monoxide detectors - smoke alarms are
not the same thing. Test them and change the
batteries yearly. We recommend battery powered
ones since many carbon monoxide deaths occur
during power outages when people are most
likely to attempt to keep homes warm with
alternate heat sources.
Let us schedule your