Tribune Staff Report
2:47 PM EST, February 2, 2011
Clay Township fire officials say they have seen an increase in the number of carbon monoxide incidents and detector activations because of snow accumulation and buildup.
A common problem is high snow drifts that block furnace vents and air intakes in some homes, predominantly those that have newer high-efficiency furnaces, Deputy Fire Marshal Ron Melser Jr. said today in a news release.
New, high-efficiency furnaces vent out the side of a home close to the ground rather than up through the roof. These vents and air intakes must be kept clear of snow and debris. If they are blocked, the carbon monoxide will back up in the home.
Some newer high-efficiency furnaces have automatic shut-offs that shut down the furnace when the vents are blocked, but not all of them. A few general rules fire officials recommend:
nþKeep a 3-foot area clear around the vent and intake pipes of snow, shrubs or other potential obstructions.
nþAfter any snowfall it is important to inspect the area around the furnace and hot water heater vents to ensure that snow and ice are not blocking the safe operation of these fuel-burning devices.
nþWater heaters and dryer vents should also be cleared of snow to prevent possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
nþDo not run generators in the home, garage or other enclosed spaces as carbon monoxide can rise to dangerous, if not fatal, levels.
nþIf your CO alarm sounds, immediately evacuate to a safe location and call 911.
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