Is The Silent Killer In Your Home?

Carbon monoxide is called the “silent killer” because you cannot see it, taste it or smell it. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America. Every household that is equipped with a furnace, boiler, water heater, fireplace, or emergency generator that burns natural gas, fuel oil, coal or wood should have a carbon monoxide detector installed. Smoke detectors, which are required in some types of buildings and dwellings, do not monitor carbon monoxide levels.

Cass County Citizen’s Journal-Sun 17 Feb 2021 | WARNING, BE CAREFUL OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

HOUSTON, Texas — The severe Texas winter storm left a mother and her young daughter dead as they attempted to stay warm. The pair died from carbon monoxide poisoning after running their car in the garage to generate heat.

Breitbart News 16 Feb 2021 | Texas Mother, Daughter Die After Heating Home with Car

Carbon monoxide gas: You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it – but it can kill you, silently and with little warning. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning not linked to fires, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control. More than 20,000 are treated in emergency rooms for it, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

Dr. Flue, Inc. 10 Jan 2017 | Don’t Fall Victim to Fireplace Carbon Monoxide Poisoning!

Gasoline-fueled automobiles, gas heaters, gas-log fireplaces, oil-fired furnaces, wood-fired fireplaces — any appliance or equipment that produces flames from carbon-based fuels can produce noxious fumes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is the product of incomplete combustion.

What’s the cure? Ventilation.

Fireplaces typically have a manually-operated damper the homeowner opens when burning wood. Novice homeowners quickly learn the damper is closed as the house fills with smoke. Unvented (closed damper) gas-log fireplaces present a danger because carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless.

Your first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is an electronic carbon monoxide detector. BuyersGuide.org rates the ten best CO detectors for 2021.

As with all electronic and electrical devices, the featured CO detector requires a power supply and replacement near the end of its useful life (manufacturer’s warranty).

A fireplace damper stop (small clamp) is an absolute necessity for all gas-log fireplaces.

My home, built in the 1970s, has two fireplaces, one a gas-log fireplace with no damper, the other a brick fireplace with a damper. Until a few years ago, we only used the gas to ignite firewood. Failure to open the flue damper of a wood-burning fireplace is a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way. We elected to fully convert our wood-burning fireplace to a gas-log fireplace.

The payoff from our investment in the professional gas-log installation came during the February 2021 polar vortex. Our electrical power was off for several days but our gas-log fireplace kept us warm without any danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

We purchased our gas log and new fireplace doors from a professional fireplace company that delivered and installed the new equipment. It was during the installation that I learned about the damper stop. The installer explained the damper stop/clamp is required by building code.

Practically all such codes arise due to loss of life and/or property damage. This is true for local fire codes, building codes, and traffic laws.

I advise residents using gas-log fireplaces to leave installation of the clamp to a professional installer.

Learn more from DamperClamp.com.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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