As you can see, we decided to start decorating for Christmas! Usually I'm one of those one-holiday-at-a-time!!!!! kind of people. But this year, Thanksgiving is a week later than normal, and my irresistibly sweet teenager FINALLY talked me into it.
Hubby also decided that since it is VERY cold outside now, we should use the fireplace. He likes the cozy feel of a fireplace. It has been an ongoing "discussion" between us. We have an older home, and as soon as we signed our names on the dotted line, EVERYTHING started to leak, short out, flood, break, etc.
We had so many ongoing problems that I refused to let Hubby use the fireplace until he had it inspected. With our luck, I was sure that if we used it, our house would burn down. We've had so many strange things happen with our house, it actually wouldn't surprise me....
So, 10 years later, he finally paid to have an inspector come and check out the fireplace and chimney. It was actually in good shape!
So, he lit a fire. And I waited. I was a little concerned because our 3 teenagers and I all have asthma. All night, my chest was tight. And I was coughing. And had that "twitchy" feeling in my throat. And
I had to use my inhaler.
The next morning, our living room still smelled a little smoky. It may have been from the left over ash. Hubby wanted to make sure it had cooled down before he put the ashes outside. I have heard stories about people who THOUGHT their ashes were cool, but the ashes actually ignited and started their garbage can and house on fire.
So, now what? I wanted to know if it was just me, or if there is a problem with fireplaces and asthma? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a page about fireplaces and asthma. Here is a quote from their website:
"Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and may increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses. If you're using a wood stove or fireplace and smell smoke in your home, it probably isn't working as it should."
I'll have to have a talk with Hubby about using our fireplace. He did say that he would only use the fireplace for "special occasions." I have a friend that uses hers EVERY night. I know that in our state, it's actually illegal to use it during days when the air quality is listed as "unhealthy."
I know that a roaring fire can seem cozy and it makes you just want to curl up and read a good book. But, if you can't breathe while you are reading....what's the point?
Check out the EPA's website and see what's best for you and your family. I think I'll ask Asthma Doc about it too. For now, I think I will just finish decorating our mantel and skip using the fireplace. At least it will look good, right?!