In attempting to conserve energy and reduce our heating costs, we can sometimes make our homes too air tight. In fact, for a house to be healthy, it needs to “breathe”. It needs to expel moisture and other gases from inside and take in a constant supply of fresh air from outside.
When a fuel-burning appliance in your home does not get enough fresh air and fails to completely burn its fuel, carbon monoxide is produced.If ventilation is damaged or blocked, or if you have a powerful kitchen fan, bathroom fan or open hearth fireplace, then carbon monoxide can be drawn back inside the house.
Exhaust fans can compound the problem
Be mindful that the air you exhaust from your home has to be replaced. Powerful exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens or open hearth wood- burning fireplaces can actually create a negative pressure inside your home, resulting in a back draft which will draw exhaust fumes from your furnace, hot water heater or other appliances back into the house.
Every year, children are burned from contact with the glass barrier at the front of a gas fireplace. Statistics show that contact burns – injuries sustained when a part of the body touches a hot object – are the second leading cause of burns in children.
Children have been burned when they have fallen towards the gas fireplace and have pushed up against the hot glass for balance. Serious third- degree burns are the result. Others have touched the glass only for a moment out of curiosity. It takes just two seconds to be seriously burned. Many children have been burned while parents are in the room. Children are not only at risk for burns when the gas fireplace is in use but before and after use too. The glass barrier can heat up to more than 200°C in about six minutes during use. It takes an average of 45 minutes for the fireplace to cool to a safe temperature after a fire has been extinguished. Some children have even been burned when the fireplace is not in use, by the heat from the …
To keep your home safe from CO hazards, follow these four steps:
1. Be aware of the hazard. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless and poisonous gas produced by common household appliances such as your furnace, fireplace, gas stove, propane heater, kerosene lantern or any other fuel-burning equipment.
2. Eliminate CO at the source. Get your home’s fuel-burning appliances and equipment inspected by a certified technician who works for a TSSA- registered heating contractor. To ensure a technician is registered, visit the Find a Contractor section of COSafety.ca
3. Install certified CO alarms. They will warn you of rising CO levels, giving you time to take potentially life-saving action. For proper installation locations, follow manufacturer’s instructions or ask your local fire department.
4. Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. They are similar to the flu – nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion and drowsiness – except there is no fever. If they appear, immediately get everyone,…