Whenever there is a combustion source within the home there is a potential for combustion spillage. Combustion spillage happens when toxic combustion gases are released into the home instead of through a flue and outside the home. Carbon monoxide is a common combustion gas that is odourless and fatally toxic even in relatively small concentrations.

The first step in avoiding combustion spillage is to insure all combustion appliances are installed to all manufacturers specifications and to all building and fire code standards. Combustion appliances include:

  • gas, oil, propane, wood & wood pellet furnaces & boilers
  • wood & pellet stoves
  • natural gas, propane, wood & pellet fireplaces & inserts
  • gas, oil & propane hot water heater
  • natural gas and propane ranges
  • kerosene & propane space heaters
  • portable naphtha & propane camp stoves, lanterns and heaters

A properly installed combustion appliance can still spill in a house with unbalanced ventilation. Any fan exhausting air from a house without a similar fan bringing in fresh air can create a dangerous combustion spillage condition.

A house can be tested for combustion spillage and this is recommended when combustion appliances are present. If a problem is detected make up air fans can be used to return the house ventilation system back to a balanced and healthy state.