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Burning wood fireplace insert making my infant sick?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Craby, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    VERY anecdotal, much like saying I ate peas last night and got in a car accident today, therefore eating peas caused the car accident. The Dr. should not have been so lazy as to just write it off as the fireplace.

    But Kapt is right. I have 3 now adult children and 2 of the 3 had come down with the croup at one time or another and we never burned at all back then.

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  2. Craby

    Craby New Member

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    I don't think he is sick because of food allergies because he is still on the boob, though other allergies may be the cause. He recently started to go to daycare, where they have a cat, and spring time trees budding out may also be a factor.

    Thank you for the welcome. I've learned allot here.
    - I was storing a couple weeks worth of wood by the stove. The new stove uses very little wood & I was used to keeping alot around because I had a Buck 91 that had a larger firebox. I have shut down the stove for the past few days & removed much of the wood especially now that the shoulder season doesn't require as much.
    - I need to be not soo hasty in my reloading. Thanks for the reload breakdown.
    - I do not have a ceiling fan.
    - I have not noticed the clothes dryer & bathroom fans causing a draw on the stove. Probably should do a test by reloading as you described with one or both exhaust fans running to see if it draws smoke.

    The pediatrician recommended this steam bath. Just skipped our mind so I'll need to try it out.

    No wallpaper in the house, though it did not occur to me that it is a vapor barrier. Good point.

    - I'm measuring humidity in our baby's room. The humidifier is in the stove room.
    Bedrooms are cooler, so I'll drop the humidity to around 40* & see if that helps.
    - Good point about the humidity levels being higher inside the walls. The exterior walls are brick veneer on CMU block, with drywall on 1" furring strips mounting to the CMU block with no insulation. Overall 12" thick walls. I have R39 in the attic.
    - I purchased the humidifier (Honeywell QuiteCare HCM-6012i) in the past few months off Craigslist already used but with a washable air filter, & started using it immediately not thinking to clean it. I bought some antibacterial & humidifier cleaner & gave it a good washing this past weekend.
    - I do run the furnace recirculating fan 24/7, 365 days a year & have an electrostatic air filter in there. I also have an air ionizer mounted inside the supply duct.
    - I did not know it is bad to have an active humidifier on the furnace when using wood. I had and Aprilaire 700 running till I bought the Honeywell humidifier. I turned off the Aprilaire furnace mounted humidifier about the same time he came down with croup. I turned it off because I just heard the sump pump on the furnace cycling allot and humidity was low at around 15-20%. I figured it was because the furnace was not calling for heat & so the water on the humidifier pad was not evaporating. Do I need to wash the Aprilaire as well or just leave it turned off?

    I'm going to run the Whirlpool hepa air cleaner by my wife, so thanks for the link.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  3. 69911e

    69911e Member

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    It is unlikely to be related to your child present problem, but for general safety sake you may want to have your ducts inspected/disinfected/cleaned as you may have mold in them. Opinions will vary on this. Unfortunately, many duct cleaning companies do bad work or nothing except charge you; choose wisely.
  4. andybaker

    andybaker Feeling the Heat

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    LOL. Can I send you my wife's phone number and you tell her. I've tried and tried to explain this and she doesn't buy it. She has even had me put a humidifer in her room so her nose feels better while during the day I'd come home and sop puddles of water off the window sill. This year I got a little smarter. I gave my older daughter the extra humidifer, turned on some more fans and it has seemed to help. Oh, from advise I got on here I put a fan in the hallway pointing into the room where the fireplace is and that has forced the hot air out of the room into the rest of the house. For the first time ever just the other day my wife ask what the fan was for and when she found out she said I'm turning it off because I can't sleep when the bedroom is so hot. !!! Before this year the complaint was always that they're too cold. Our noses still get dry but I think that is due to living in Ohio during the winter
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    When living on an oil fired boiler, simply turning down the thermostat at night typically solves the dry nose problem, as the falling interior temperatures drive up the relative humidity during the night. When heating with a stove, you don't want to let temperatures fall overnight, as it's a lot of work to get them back up in the morning. But then again, it's easy enough to regulate humidity against a constant temperature, with an automatic humidifier.

    Do you have a hydrometer in the house, Andy? It would be interesting to see what RH you're running, when you have the condensation problems. If you're seeing noticeable condensation well below 60% RH, it may be time to think about storm windows, as your window radiated losses must be very high. Most with an automatic humidifier target 50% as an ideal RH, but anything in the 40 - 60% range should be acceptable. Allowing RH to dip below 40% is where the "dry nose" feeling comes in.
  6. HomeBruin

    HomeBruin New Member

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    Andy, my Aprilair whole house humidifer has a 'guide' to set the interior humidity level to based on outside temperatures in Farenheit:

    Over 20, 40%
    Below 20, 35%
    Zero, 25%
    -20, 15%

    I've noticed that deviating from this by going higher on humidity results in condensation at windows, relatively cool outside walls. This is only the condensation you are seeing. Within the voids of walls, window sills may be more, causing damage and mold that you may or may not see. Either way, unhealthy and destructive. I'm guessing newer very well insulated buildings may allow for slightly higher humidity. Mine is built1975, no such luck. I have been about 35% all winter through most of the house, 25% in the stove room. We don't use the exhaust fan when showering or cooking in winter, instead allowing the moisture to permeate the air in the house. Of course, leave the bathroom door open! The April Air is only used when the oil burner is, which is pretty darn infrequently, when the insert cannot keep up. I also keep it only 65 to 68 indoors during winter, which probably helps. Wife used to groan, now she's used to it and when it gets warmer, she complains it's too warm. Especially in bedroom, she likes it cooler for sleeping. Me too.
  7. tbuff

    tbuff Feeling the Heat

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    Welcome Craby. You're sure to find alot of good advice on here because these guys know their stuff.

    Going out on a limb here, did you try getting a second opinion from another pediatrician? While its not completely uncommon for your little guy to get sick, I don't believe its normal for a 3 month old to be sick for 3 weeks. Also, does he attend a daycare or spend a significant amount of time outside of the house in another area? I'd absolutely try to have him seen by a different pediatrician, can't hurt.
  8. hh3f

    hh3f Member

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    My granddaughter had croup when she was a couple of years old. She woke her parents with this seal like bark. Scared and concerned they packed her up and went to the emergency room. Shortly after arriving the cough subsided and she was fine. The emergency room doctor said it was probably the cold air after leaving the house that had a positive effect on her lungs.
    I just want to add they have hot water baseboard heat,no wood or other heat source involved. Also this never came back again. Hope this helps.
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Geez... my house stays around 37 - 43% all winter, without any humidifier at all.
  10. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    Milk is made up with what the cow eats. back in the day they ate a lot of grass and hay now they eat silage grain and meds..sigh.. it is not the same milk. I am a foodie of sorts but not in the usual sense. I am very aware of where current food comes from now as compared to where people think it does. Farm raised fish is the worst unless you think it is a good idea to eat fish that has a primary food source of chicken crap and meat byproducts.. The list is long and can offer a reading list that is real and not some political fantasy. My daughter is a registered dietician with a masters degree. There is no phd program available for it but she is working on that..LOL .. Before she graduated was published in medical journals so off to a good start. She feeds well actually plans the menus for an entire cancer center to make their life a bit more tolerable with all the meds and other issues. She is the one that told me to read and drops off books on a regular basis.

    My son had issues with croup. The pediatrician back then told me to take him for a ride in the car for half an hour before calling him in the middle of the night. It seemed the cold crisp air cleared up attacks very quickly. If you have water on windows then it is certainly behind the walls making mold. Since you started running the insert suspect the furnace runs much less and that means the electrostatic filter runs much less. If it were me i would set the furnace blower on low with the filter on as it will pull microscopic things out of the air that are allergens like it used to. They will take dust mold smoke you name it out of the air and easy to clean on a regular basis. A good one can easily pull mold spores and bacteria out of the air and cleaned with warm soapy water and rinsed with a garden hose if made like the ones I worked on years ago. They are just electrically charged metal plates. The cleanest houses are dusty dirty places on a microscopic level loaded with allergens and that filter is your friend especially with kids that have a sensitivity to them.

    Ok off my soap box.. Dave
    bag of hammers likes this.
  11. Craby

    Craby New Member

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    My son is much better now. Tried all the remedies and not sure which one was the cure, though I think the lower humidity level probably was a big factor.
    Thanks for your help everyone.
    bag of hammers and Joful like this.
  12. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    Good to hear he is feeling better. Now that it is warming up, take him outside and enjoy the spring...

    KaptJaq
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Great news! Hope this stressful period is over and becomes history.
    Seanm likes this.
  14. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    If your running the recirculating fan (of your forced air furnace) while your using your stove, that could be causing a negative pressure situation and reducing your chimney draft (causing back puffing).
  15. wazzu

    wazzu Member

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    The original cause was probably the three packs of Winstons yo had been smoking in the house every day.::P:)
  16. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    Only if the duct work is not sized correctly and installed correctly. Running the humidifier on the furnace with no heat will do little good and more harm potentially. The water comes out as a fairly coarse vapor and depends on the heated lower humidity air to get it into a full vapor. With no heat you are wetting down the duct work and could be making mold as well.

    Cold night air is generally very low in humidity as the cold air can not hold much water vapor. Measuring the water in the air can and is done two different ways. One is relative and that is the amount of air compared to the amount it could hold at that temperature. The other is the actual amout of water in the air with no comparison to the temperature. A 70 degree house at 40% RH has a lot more water in the air than a 30 degree night at 40% RH. While the RH the same the water content wildly different.

    Dave

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