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Wood stove and allergies?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by _ABR_, Feb 23, 2007.

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  1. _ABR_

    _ABR_ New Member

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    Hi,

    I've just got a wood stove and am waiting for a chimney to be put in, but at least two people I've talked to have said they avoided wood stoves because of allergies. I sometimes have allergy issues too so that makes me worried. I assume the (limited) smoke is going up the chimney not into the house, so what exactly is the issue? Is it ash coming out when cleaning the thing? Breathing emissions when out in the yard? Trouble with dust and chips from the wood itself? Thanks.

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  2. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    It could be any or all of the above. The wood can have mold or mold spores, but if dry enough, it really shouldn't be an issue. The very fine ash could bother some people who might be very sensitive to it. I doubt the smoke is an issue (especially since its outside). I've met a few people who said they were "allergic to wood stoves or burning"... the reality is usually that they are more bothered by the perception of dust and dirt than anything else.
  3. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    My wife has pretty severe allergies, and the one time she cleaned out the stove, she had a pretty bad attack. but as long as she's not in the room when I actually take out the ash, there are no problems
  4. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    My wife also has reactions to wood stoves, I'm talking like feel like she's going to die and she pukes. I wanted a wood insert, but all through her childhood she couldn't spend any significant amount of time around any friends house with a wood stove, she also got sick at my parents house who also have one. But she could stay over her parents house who have an VC encore just fine, indefinetely with them burning all the time. I theorized the difference was the ones she reacted to were pre-EPA smoke mongers but her parents had an EPA approved VC Encore catalytic stove that burned the gases. I took one of the biggest risks that she reacts to unburned secondary gases in wood. You can imagine my risk plopping down $3,500 for a soapstone insert knowing there's a chance my wife may puke if I'm wrong and I won't be able to use it. Sure enough we're on our second year now with our secondary burn unit and she hasn't had a problem what-so-ever and we burn all the time. The ashes sometimes fall into the blower and spread around the house... she doesn't have any problem with that so, in her case her allergies don't appear to have any problem with wood ashes. One of the things she swears by is I think it's called Flonaze (Flonaise!?). She takes a shot of that now and then and it cut her allergies down by about 1/4th as much as they used to.
  5. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    I have alergies and the stove has not bothered it. I noticed if you bring in some punky wood it must go in the stove right away...along with any of the white mold on oak. Other than that the dryness is more bothersome then any alergies to me.
  6. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Are you sure you aren't misunderstanding allergies for asthma? Thats the clinically documented problem with wood burning appliances. Wood stoves are known triggers for asthma attacks. Hey don't shoot me I am only the messenger here. Thats why we went with a multifuel pellet type stove. You can/t smell the stove when you walk into a house heated by a pellet stove nearly as much as a wood burner. That said my Countyrside can pour out the volcanic fly ash if you open the door to do anything once the stove is running. You can see it on my ceiling. For my .o2 I would think a clinker type burner would burn a lot cleaner than either a grinder type or any sort of inside woodstove. Just show me the wood stove that won't set off the wife's allergies and I will be buying one right quick. That excludes the outside type of course. At any rate I bet asthma is the particular allergy you are worried about not the common hay fever, cat dander stuff.
    t
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I have 3 kids with allergies. Our wood stove does not bother them one bit.
  8. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    My youngest daughter has allergies AND asthma and no problem with either with the wood stove.
    We also have a very good ash pan system on our stove so ash dust isn't an issue and obviously not a issue with our little ones asthma .

    If from ash with the bucket and shovel you will end up with ash dust in the house so be warned without a good ash pan clean out system on your stove it'll happen.
  9. _ABR_

    _ABR_ New Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys. I think my stove and pipe won't leak smoke inside, so I'll just take care on the ash cleanings and keep my "next up" wood on my enclosed porch.
  10. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    True allergic reactions are the result of a noxious foreign substance (antigen) combining with a susceptible person's previously manufactured protein (antibody) as a defense mechanism. Combination of antigen and antibody, on mucous membrane of the nasal passages for example, triggers the release of the body's histamine (and other substances) to produce symptoms which may be mild (runny nose, sneezing, itching, maybe hives) or severe (angioneurotic edema, bronchospasm with difficulty breathing, sudden cardiorespiratory collapse and death - anaphylactic shock). Severe reactions usually happen rapidly while mild ones may be rapid or delayed hours or days.

    I once witnessed a co-worker have one of these rapid severe allergic reactions. I'm here to tell you, it was not a pretty sight. Must have come from him inhaling the airborn dander from that old flea bagged mule's hide I ripped off suddenly...

    In the wood stove world, antigens (some already mentioned) can be

    * wood mold
    * wood ash
    * smoke or
    * fried dust, or regular dust, carried in convection air currents produced from the hot stove surface

    Also, some folks get "runny noses" from the dryer than normal air produced by a hot stove.

    Aye,
    Marty

    Grandma used to say, "I prefer to have my feet run and my nose smell rather than the other way around."
  11. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    I'm sensitive to mold so its a double edged thing, I have to be careful not to store too much punky wood inside but the extra airflow from a stove (no fresh air kit) is a really boon.

    I'm also sensitive to cat and horses, but not dogs. I grew up in a house with dogs so must have adjusted to them.

    I have read that ash is terrible for you so I try not to clean the stove too often and when I do am really careful to use the draft in the chimney to collect most of the ash.
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