Tornado-damaged flues may need to be checked
With cooler weather in the midst, people should be advised to take precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Several calls for high levels of carbon monoxide have been answered by area heating and cooling businesses, contractors and fire departments. Some of the instances have been attributed to damage from the May 11 tornado.
John Franiuk, who owns Franiuk Construction, has inspected three different residences in the past month.
"Everything might look fine from the outside, but that doesn't mean it is," Franiuk said. "People should get things inspected before firing off their furnaces this fall. If you suspect a problem, get it checked out by someone who can determine that."
James Paine, of the Tonganoxie Fire Department, agreed.
"We are concerned that when people start firing up their furnaces that the possibility is their flue pipes may have been disconnected or damaged from the many storms," Paine said.
Paine said he's heard other contractors who have been fixing roofs are saying that they have seen possible problems with flue pipes.
"The best thing to do if you're concerned is to call a heating and electric contractor to come inspect it," Paine said.
He also recommended buying a carbon monoxide detector that plugs into an electrical outlet.
"It's one of the best ways to prevent problems," Paine said.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness and nausea that are out of the ordinary.
"If you have a carbon monoxide problem, you might go to sleep and never wake up," Paine said. "It's the silent killer. So, when in doubt, call."
Also, Franiuk said it's important to replace rain caps that may have been lost during the tornado.
"Just driving through town, I can see that a lot of rain caps are missing," Franiuk said. "If water runs down into the pipe, it can cause corrosion and it will be just a matter of time before the pipe fails."