Summer Time Chore - Check Your Furnace Chimney

July 19th, 2010 | Filed under: Carbon Monoxide, Chimneys, Energy Efficiency, Poisoning |

With record-breaking heat waves baking much of the country, it seems like an odd time to be thinking about your furnace or it’s chimney, but this is the season to get your furnace chimney checked by a qualified chimney sweep or furnace maintenance company. Failing to do so could cause carbon monoxide poisoning problems in a few short months when the weather turns chilly again.

Why is that?

In the spring many creatures large and small make their homes in fireplace and furnace flues, to nest or have their young in the relative comfort of the cool, quiet, and dark “cave” that is open on the roofs of many homes across the country. These creatures like birds, squirrels, raccoons and bats can bring a mess of nesting materials with them, or create a mess of droppings left behind, potentially clogging the chimney either at the top (with a bird nest) or at the bottom (near the thimble where your furnace connects).

What happens during the summer is that the young have grown, left the chimney, and left behind a potentially deadly situation for the people living in the home.

That nesting material, along with any other mess left behind, can reduce the ability of your chimney to exhaust the deadly carbon monoxide fumes generated from your furnace or non-electric water-heater. (Hint: If your furnace or water-heater uses fuel like natural gas, propane, or oil - then it creates carbon monoxide.)

If the chimney flue is partially blocked, then the odorless but dangerous carbon monoxide can escape into the home. In the worst-cases, the mess left behind may actually block the chimney completely, causing all of the carbon monoxide to dump into the home, possibly building to concentrations high enough to cause death.

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