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Is Your Indoor Air Clean?

Imagine you’re sitting in front of your fireplace on a cold winter night. You have a fire burning there, the flue is adjusted perfectly so no smoke is billowing into the house, the logs are burning evenly, and you’re enjoying the warmth and the intoxicating scent of the wood as it burns. That last little bit of information, however, is a sign of danger of which few homeowners are aware. We want to keep you and your family safe, so keep reading to learn more about this problem.

Do you think that just because you are indoors, your air is a lot cleaner and safer? When your fireplace and chimney fails to do its job efficiently, you are prone to the effects of indoor air pollution.

Do you think that just because you are indoors, your air is a lot cleaner and safer? When your fireplace and chimney fail to do its job efficiently, you are prone to the effects of indoor air pollution.

Clean Air is Important

Being able to smell a wood fire burning in the fireplace, even in small amounts, is actually a sign that your chimney is not functioning properly. This, in turn, has a negative effect on the quality of the air in your home, especially for children, elderly family members, and those with lung cancer or heart disease.

The Good and the Bad

Fireplaces provide a lot of things we want: heat, light, ambiance, and a soothing crackle. The combustion happening in your fireplace, however, is also providing byproducts we don’t want or need: smoke and toxic gases. Wood smoke in your home contains one or more of the following:

It is your chimney’s job to contain those byproducts and allow them to flow up and out of your home. A poorly performing chimney, however, will allow those harmful byproducts to remain in your living space, thereby diminishing the quality of the air in your home.

Adverse Effects

Smoke can have a noticeable effect on people with respiratory issues (e.g., asthma). Another major concern of a poorly functioning chimney is that it can allow colorless, odorless—and toxic—carbon monoxide (CO) to remain in your home. It is a natural byproduct of the wood burning process, and, because you can’t see or smell it, it can make you sick without you ever even knowing it’s there. As a matter of fact, prolonged exposure to CO can be deadly.

It is essential to ventilate rooms that have fireplaces. Make certain that the flue damper is working properly and fully open whenever the fireplace is in use. It is also of the utmost importance to make sure that the chimney is properly sealed. A well-vented, tight-fitting fireplace and chimney combination will move those harmful gases up and out of your home, which will greatly improve the overall quality of the air inside. Keeping these pointers in mind will help you and your family to more fully enjoy this and subsequent heating seasons.

 

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