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The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

The thought of the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning happening in your home is very frightening; however, neglecting regular chimney maintenance can result in carbon monoxide leaking into your home without you even knowing it. Odorless, tasteless, and invisible, this toxic gas can become trapped within your house. If you do not have a carbon monoxide alarm installed to alert you of this danger, you and your family could get very sick or even die from continuously inhaling this poisonous gas. Another way to be safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning is to schedule an annual chimney sweeping and inspection from Weststar Chimney Sweeps. This step can stop this gas from entering your home in the first place. We would like to inform you about these dangers so that you can best protect yourself and your family.

CO Toxicity - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney

How Does Carbon Monoxide Affect My Body?

When you breathe in carbon monoxide, the poisonous gas enters your bloodstream and how your blood treats this gas is the true danger. Hemoglobin, a protein in your blood, will always choose to pick up and carry the carbon monoxide and to ignore oxygen. Of course, we need oxygen flowing through our blood to keep our cells from suffocating. The amount of damage caused depends on how long and intense you are exposed to inhaling carbon monoxide, which makes detecting and preventing its presence so crucial.

How Common Are Deaths and Illnesses Due to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), at least 200 people in the U.S. are killed every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by venting problems in their heating appliance systems. Approximately 10,000 cases of sickness related to carbon monoxide are recorded in hospitals each year as well.

What are the Side-Effects and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Side-effects of low-level exposure can include permanent brain and other organ damage. Unfortunately, the symptoms of low-level poisoning are very similar to those of the common cold: headache, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. This can cause many misdiagnoses of carbon monoxide poisoning, which prolongs the exposure. If these symptoms do not go away, be persistent with your doctor and ask for a blood test to check for levels of this toxic gas. The sooner high levels are found, the sooner life-saving treatment can begin. High-level exposure to carbon monoxide can cause death.

How Does This Gas Come Into My House?

Poor ventilation is the primary cause of carbon monoxide coming into your home; however, the factors behind the venting problems include a damaged or missing chimney flue liner, large deposits of creosote, debris clogging the passageway, and nesting from birds or other animals blocking the flue.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide from Entering My Home?

All of the factors behind chimney venting problems can be corrected with an annual chimney sweeping and inspection from Weststar Chimney Sweeps. With cases of carbon monoxide-related health issues on the rise, our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are extra careful to clean out any blockages, check flue liners for cracks and gaps, and replace a deteriorated chimney liner to protect you from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection this year, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today. Our staff will arrange a chimney sweep visit to your home as soon as possible to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your house.

By Mike O'Mara on November 15th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Why It Is Important to Hire a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep

Look for the CSIA seal when evaluating a chimney company for hire

Look for the CSIA seal when evaluating a chimney company for hire

Hiring a chimney sweep who has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to perform your annual chimney cleaning and inspecting ensures you have a highly trained and qualified technician doing the job. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can be entrusted to be certain your chimney is properly cleaned, safe to use, and in excellent working condition. Our chimney sweeps at Weststar Chimney Sweeps have been through the CSIA certification process, which gives them further training, skills, and knowledge in this industry. Our customers often ask us what this certification means, and we would like to answer this by telling you more about the importance of this professional commitment.

What is the CSIA?

A non-profit, educational organization, the CSIA is dedicated to preventing and eliminating of chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and other chimney-related dangers that can result in injuries or death. To achieve this goal, a vast collection of resources is provided to educate the public, chimney and venting system professionals, and fire prevention specialists about the proper maintenance of fireplace, chimney, and venting systems. The CSIA offers the only national certification program in the chimney and venting system industry.

What are the responsibilities and commitments of a CSIA-certified chimney sweep?

When a chimney sweep completes the training for CSIA certification, he or she must uphold specific obligations, which include:

● Practicing CSIA-recommended chimney and venting safety techniques
● Improving skills, extending a knowledge base, and learning new techniques to stay updated on safety standards for the chimney and venting of fireplaces
● Knowing all applicable local building codes concerning chimneys and fully complying with these codes
● Following closely all manufacturers’ installation instructions for chimney and venting products
● Dealing honestly with customers, refraining from unfair and deceptive practices, and informing customers about essential chimney and venting safety procedures
● Behaving professionally and respectfully when performing chimney and venting duties.

What is the process of CSIA certification?

To become certified by the CSIA, one must do the following:

● Attend a one-day intensive review session in person or a one-week review session online
● Pass a one-hour exam based on the 2011 edition of the CSIA publication Successful Chimney Sweeping and the 2013 edition of NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances from the National Fire Prevention Association
● Pass an open-book 90-minute exam using his/her copy of 2006 International Residential Code, published by the International Code Council
● Agree to pay the Annual Certification Fee
● Sign the CSIA Code of Ethics

What topics are covered in the certification process?

To receive CSIA certification, one must prove proficiency in the following areas:

● Technical aspects of chimney dynamics and construction
● Skilled performances of the best and current techniques in the industry
● Wood-burning physics and the formation of creosote residue, which is one of the leading causes of chimney fires
● Familiarity of and compliance with all applicable codes, regulations, clearances, and standards
● Care and installation of a variety of types of solid fuel appliances
● Requirements by the US Environmental Protection Agency

To hire one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeos today to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping

By Mike O'Mara on October 16th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment