What usually comes to mind when you look at a chimney, aside from Santa Claus of course? Warmth and heat, comfort perhaps? Yes, chimneys were made for these things. But just like any other thing, it also has to be given proper attention and care to be able to give us what we long for, and more importantly, to ensure maximum safety for the residents of the house. Having said this, homeowners should know what the basic parts and functions of the chimney are so that they can assess and address any problem that might arise. They’ll also know when to call us, the experts.
Why Do I Need to Know?
Chimneys might look perfect on the outside but a lot of hazardous and unwanted problems can occur on the inside; molds, soot and creosote build-up, blockages, etc. We think those reasons are enough for you to take the time to learn about the most basic and fundamental parts of your chimney.
Basic and Fundamental Parts and Functions
These are some of the parts you need to pay close attention to. First is the chimney crown and chimney cap which is considered the first line of defense of your chimney. It protects your chimney from any blockage and prevents water from seeping into the inside of your chimney.
Second, the flue and the flue liner which should be in excellent condition. This is where the smoke of harmful gases from combustion passes through. This also eliminates possibilities of flammable debris from gathering. You have to be mindful of creosote that might be building up in the flue walls though.
The smoke chamber is just as important as well. This is the part is found above the fireplace and just beneath the flue. It is where by products are compressed into a smaller area to prevent draft from happening and allows smoke to escape via the flue.
And last but not the least is the chimney damper. This will help regulate the energy used or unused during and after using your fireplace or wood stove. It is used to close the chimney to prevent heated air from being lost up the chimney.
What to Do Next?
We from A to Z Window Screen, Chimney Sweep & Dryer Vent Cleaning Company will be there for you and your chimney especially when you want to get your chimney inspected or if you want to get a certain part fixed. However, it’s your job to be ready to dial our numbers once you notice that there’s definitely something wrong going on. Being educated about your chimney may seem unimportant, but trust us, it will be worth it.
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a toxic gas that is colorless and odorless gas that can cause illness or death. Carbon monoxide is released during any type of combustion or fire. In and enclosed space, any type of burning or combustion, such as that from a gasoline engine, can quickly build up to toxic levels. CO is emitted from stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, lanterns, or any type of open flame or combustion is occurring.
Carbon monoxide is emitted from stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, lanterns, or any type of open flame or combustion is occurring. CO then enters the lungs and bonds with the blood cells, thereby preventing true oxygen, O2, from entering the bloodstream. During your annual inspection, a certified sweep will check for any obstructions in your chimney.
The United States Centers for Disease Control name these symptoms as possible carbon monoxide poisoning:
Symptoms are similar to other illnesses, so it is important to be examined by a medical professional. They can perform simple tests to confirm or rule out carbon monoxide poisoning.
The first step in prevention is Carbon Monoxide detectors. Every home needs one, even if you do not heat your home with gas or open flame. Most modern smoke detectors also have a carbon monoxide detector, but always make sure. If you are unsure about your detectors or look old, replace them with ones for sure that do. There are even separate carbon monoxide detectors that can be placed in other areas, like garages or other enclosed spaces, which will give a good sound warning when levels are reaching toxic levels.
The second step in prevention is using carbon monoxide common sense and follow these steps:
Have your heating system, water heater, or any other burning appliance inspected and serviced every year
Ensure your chimney damper opens properly and free and your chimney system is inspected and serviced every year
Ensure all burning appliances are vented properly and not level. Vent pipes should move uphill and never be parallel to the ground.
Never patch a vent pipe with gum, tape, or other material
Do not use flameless chemical or catalytic heaters indoors. These release CO.
In case of a power outage, follow these steps for proper fire and carbon monoxide safety:
Never use a gas range or oven for room heating
Never use a charcoal grill indoors
Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors
Never use a generator indoors, a basement, a garage, or near a window, door, or vent. Outside is the only safe place for a generator.
Always use flame type heaters in a well-ventilated area or with a properly working CO monitor.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is as dangerous to health as fire and should be treated seriously and can be prevented with these few simple steps. Visit the Center for Disease Control for more information.