Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Written by Charles Peacock
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Most people think that a fireplace can only become dangerous if it is left unattended and a log or hot coal falls out onto the wood floor or carpet. While this is a real potential danger, there are also some more insidious ways a fireplace can cause harm. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is released by burning wood or gas, and if your fireplace is not properly ventilated, this gas can filter into your home--to disastrous effect.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It may come as a surprise to learn that carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common type of poisoning death in the United States. The problem is that carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and incredibly common. In small doses it doesn't cause a problem, but if your chimney is clogged and it begins to fill up your house, you can become poisoned without even realizing it.

The first step in preventing carbon monoxide problems is to regularly check and clean your fireplace for proper ventilation. This is best handled by a professional, but you can take steps on your own to make sure your fireplace is properly ventilated. If smoke and other gases are filtering into your home, for instance, chances are that carbon monoxide is in the mix.

Carbon monoxide alarms are a great idea for any home with a fireplace, particularly if you have small children who may be more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. Properly placed and installed, these alarms will alert you if the carbon monoxide level in your home is reaching a dangerous level. Like smoke alarms, it's best to get one and make sure it's working before it's too late.

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