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Wood Stoves and Allergies

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by PAPROUD, Feb 28, 2008.

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  1. PAPROUD

    PAPROUD New Member

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    Looking to get a PE Summit and was wondering if the owners of this stove, or any other free standing stove, can give me some insight into their stove use and allergies. My son has bad allergies and his doctor said NO to our idea of inside stove, but after going to friends houses that have wood stoves, I don't realy notice the smoke smell. Does anybody out there know if thier stove aggravates their allergies? I think that the use of an ash dump should help cut down on the amount of ash in the air and I have no plans of keeping wood in the house. I would get an outside stove, but the double or triple in price is scary. Help if you can.

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  2. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    I agree with the physician - you would be taking a big chance at the risk of your son's health.

    Metal stoves "fry" dust particles on the hot metal surfaces. They also create "indoor weather" by their frequent thermal hot/cool/hot/cool cycling. They also create convection air currents which can move the fried dust around as well as anything minute your son may be allergic to: cat dander, dried dog saliva, mold spores from the wood, fine smoke particles (read up on the effect of "PM10 and PM2.5" from wood smoke as well as "volatile organic compounds"), fine ash. All this, and more, can be inhaled into his lungs.

    Ever hear of "second hand smoke" and the damaging health consequences to those exposed to it? Well, it applies to more than tobacco.

    Of one thing I am sure: breathing any of this stuff will not do anything good for your son.

    Aye,
    Marty
    Grandma used to say, "Better be safe than sorry."

    PS: Why not do something fun at the risk of hurting only yourself like go sky diving, SCUBA diving, hand gliding, deep powder extreme skiing, bare foot walking on hot coals, wild boar hunting with only a knife and a dog, or feed a lion raw meat with your hand through a cage. But then, if you're gone, it wouldn't be fair to your son or the dog.
  3. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    I have allergies...indoor and outdoor. The only thing that bothers me is if you bring in the white mold on oak...otherwise if burning right there is no smell. The other drawback to consider is the fine ash when cleaning out the unit.
  4. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    Paproud and burntime:

    You both are under an erroneous assumption that you can "smell" (therefore avoid, if you do smell 'something') substances that can do harm to you or yours sooner or later.

    Read my lips: This Ain't So.

    Aye,
    Marty
  5. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    If you burn hot and burn right take care not to get smoke spillage when loading the stove then I say it is no more dangerous than a regular forced hot air furnace as it also can fry the dust and it defiantly blows the other allergens around so I see it as six one way half dozen the other.
  6. PAPROUD

    PAPROUD New Member

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    I guess I should have clarified the doctors concerns before being crucified. He was worried about the amount of smoke seepage and the dirt/mold from the wood being left in the house. I wonder if all that was stated is true how in the world is a stove allowed to be in any house without the EPA knocking down your doors! Anybody have a good idea on what outdoor stove to buy? Guess I will just have to move to the Florida Keys, oh I forgot, there are alligators there.
  7. bruce

    bruce Member

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    take the huge savings in fuel bills and by a air filter/humidifier
    my house is all electric, my heat bill is about75$ for the season with wood almost 24/7 kero heaters stink way more than burning wood in a modern stove never any smoke spillage here
  8. snowtime

    snowtime Minister of Fire

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    Get that Summit and make sure you have an extra strong draft. If you have 24' or more straight up inside the house you will not have problems with back puffing and ash will be sucked up the chimney when you open the door to load or clean.
  9. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    look into ionic air purifiers, they from what i hear are great for asthmatics. my family fortunately does not have any asthmatic members so i cannot speak from real experience but have had customers tell me that they made a real difference in their lifestyle burning wood as well as spring/fall times when pollen and leaf mold is active. i think it is worth pursuing ,however i would ask the family doctor for some input. nothing in the world is so precious as the health of ones child , guard it aggressively.as im sure you already do. i truly hope this is helpful to you.
  10. Soopah 27

    Soopah 27 New Member

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    Paproud, I had many of the same fears you have now.

    My wife is a severe athsmatic (w/alergies galore) My daughter also.

    We wanted a stove for back-up heat and energy savings but were very fearful of my wifes breathing condition. We did test burns at retailers (which went fine) ensured the best installation possible for good draft, crossed our fingers and installed a p-5 alderlea, with no breathing issues to date, burning 24-7.

    As of late, we are out of wood :p and the forced air furnace is on....

    WE'RE ALL BREATHING BADLY NOW......

    My daughter asked me yesterday to light a fire so she could "feel" warm again. At the time, our thermostat was set to 70.... Guess what I'm doing tomorrow? WOOD RUN!
  11. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    my wife's allergies have decreased since we started using a woodstove.
  12. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    My husband is allergic to seemingly almost anything a person can be allergic to: cats, dogs, dust mites, pollen, perfume, pine, anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, you name it. He breathes a lot better and has less sinus infections with our house heated with wood than with the gas furnace. We attribute that to the mold and crud that has built up in the ductwork over the years that gets blown around the house when the furnace is on. We had them cleaned, but they can only clean them so well. Normally there is no problem with smoke coming out of the stove when loading or poking at it, so you can't smell anything in the house and it hasn't bothered him. He does notice that some wood bothers him when it sits in the house. So we have tried to look at all of our wood carefully. and whatever seems to be moldy or have fungus growing on it waits on the porch. They go directly from the porch to inside the stove. If you can keep your wood outside and just carry it in when about to burn it, you can avoid that problem.

    If possible, since a wood stove is a big investment, would be to have your son spend a few days at the house of someone who heats with a woodstove. See if he has any trouble there. But in our case it has HELPED my husband, who has suffered from allergy problems for decades. Also having the pot of water on the stove promotes a nice humidity level in the house, which also helps our breathing.
  13. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

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    at the risk of getting my butt kicked from here to eternity & back, I'm going to suggest a pellet stove instead of a wood stove because i know that all kinds of mold,fungus,bacteria, virus , worms ,insects & other critters can be carried into the home in wood.

    You can & I did, get sick just handeling wet wood with green or black stuff growing on it & that was just outside, before I take it into the house.

    Taking that same piece of wood into the house 3 months later & you get sick all over again. Only burning that piece of wood finally gets rid of that particular problem but how safe it the log sitting next to it????? will it be the same deal with that log.

    With a pellet stove, all that problem disappears because pellets are made by high heat moulding of the sawdust into pellets & the pellets look like they were baked in an oven because they really were. That baking process kills all the mold, fungas, bacteria ,virus, insects worms & other stuff That come in your house with wood.

    Pellet stoves cost more to opperate. A bag of pellets cost me $5.00 & heats my house for 24 hours. My oil burner uses 1.6 gal of oil per hour & 1 hr run time heats my house for 3 hrs.
    24 hr/3hr = 8 one hr runs x1.6 gal/hr=10.24 gal oil x 3.20 gal=32.77 per day for oil versus $5.30 per day for pellet heat

    for what it cost me to run my oil burner for 1 day is enough to buy me 6.4 --40lb bags of pellets at 5.oo/bag. & 6.4 bags of pellets is 6.4 days of heat in 12 deg weather, & longer in milder weather.

    another way to look at it is $250.oo = one ton pellets = 50 days heat
    but 250.oo/3.20gal=78 gal/1.6gal/hr=49 hr run time oil burner x 3=147 hr of heat
    147/24=6 days of heat

    $250.oo buy 1 ton pellets=50 days heat or 6 days heat with an oil burner

    HOWEVER,I MUST POINT OUT THAT BOTH WOOD STOVES & PELLET STOVES ARE SPACE HEATERS ,NOT CENTRAL HEATING.OIL BURNERS ARE CENTRAL HEATING.

    This means that the oil burner heats up your whole house, all at once but a wood stove
    or a pellet stove only heats the room it is in as well as whatever other rooms the hot air from the wood or pellet stove is able to reach.
    So, wood & pellet stoves will not heat your whole house unelse you have a very small house
    under 2000 sq ft.
    my house is 3000 sq ft & i have cold rooms & very cold rooms that only the oil burner heat can reach . even with both the pellet stove & the wood stove going at the same time , all I manage to to is overheat some rooms while other rooms are not quite as cold as usual.

    FORTINUATLY FOR ME , ALL THE ROOMS I ACTUALLY OCCUPY ARE CLOSE BY BOTH THE WOOD & PELLT STOVE & SO RECIEVE REASONABL AMTS OF HEAT. The neither reaches of the house contain the cold storage rooms. these are rooms that are cold because the heat from the stoves won't reach them, that I store things in.


    My answer to this was 16/7 burning, i run the oil burner at nite when i sleep so that I dont wake up in the middle of the nite FreezingMyAO(FMAO) & this also helps warm up the neither regions, the far reaches , the cold storage rooms in my house.

    So a pellet stove might be a better answer for you than a wood stove. No wood handeling ,cutting splitting stacking ,laying & setting a fire, thermostatic one button opperation, automatic ignition, 2 day pellet hopper holds 80 lbs of pellets in one 5 minute feeding, once every 2 days. But only the battery back up 12 vdc pellet stoves will still opperate durnig a power failure & only as long as the battery power lasts.(usually about 4 to 8 hrs. depending. Unelse you have some way to recharge the battery ie start the car & jumper the stove battery to the car battery with the engine running??

    Your kid would miss out on a lot of nasty germs with the pellet stove & mine(pellet stove) dont stink up the air when i run it properly but will stink up the air when it is overdue to be cleaned out.

    Keep the kid out of the room when you are cleaning out the pellet stove, about once every 3 bags of pellets burned.

    Tough decision you have 2 make, & no one but the kid knows just how allregic he is.
    You may have to buy a pellet stove & sell it a month later, if it dont work out with the kid.
    Get the biggest size pellet stove you can afford becaise you can never have too much heat
    when it gets really cold. www.englanderstoves.com

    great pellet & wood stoves are found here at reasonable prices.
  14. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    Nay sayers:

    Please read. I've found no evidence to support the claim wood burning in a household with a child having allergies is OK.

    1. "the American Academy of Pediatrics lists smoke from wood (or from cigarettes) as "indoor air pollution" under triggers of asthma."
    *http://www.allergynursing.com/questions3/burning.html

    2. "BEWARE: Your Fireplace or Wood Burning Stove May Be Harming Your Health in an Unexpected Way
    by www.SixWise.com
    As the holidays near and the air becomes more frigid, families gather around fireplaces and wood-burning stoves seeking warm comfort. Unfortunately for many --- especially those who suffer from asthma and allergies -- the use of such heating devices can trigger health-related disasters in unexpected ways.
    Dr. Leonard Bielory, director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Center at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark, says emergency room visits from asthma attacks quadruple following the fall's first frost. "There are particles and toxic agents emitted by burning wood that, when inhaled, may cause shortness of breath or wheezing and possibly a life-threatening asthma attack that may require emergency health care."
    *http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/..._harming_your_health_in_an_unexpected_way.htm

    3. "People affected by wood burning smoke should avoid burning wood in their homes."
    *http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/wood-burning-smoke.html?pageNum=6

    4. "Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces
    In addition to lowering humidity, wood burning stoves and fireplaces may give off smoke that irritates the respiratory tract.
    Solution: Make certain there is adequate draft for the stove or fireplace.
    The person with allergies should not be in the room if a fire is being built. People allergic to molds may have an allergy attack when dried wood is brought in that has mold in the bark.
    Solution: Put the wood directly into the fire. Do not stack wood in the house.
    Some persons allergic to tree pollen may also be allergic to the wood and suffer symptoms when it is burned.
    Solution: The hard wood people are least likely to react to is oak.
    *http://www.allergy.hhsys.org/allergyq.htm

    5. "The largest single source of outdoor fine particles entering into our homes in many American cities is our neighbor's fireplace or wood stove," says Dr. Wayne Ott of Stanford University.
    Wood smoke contains many of the same chemicals as cigarette smoke, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hazardous metals, and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde, dioxin, benzene, and toluene. Inhaling wood smoke appears to be just as dangerous - or even more dangerous - as inhaling tobacco smoke. An EPA study concluded that breathing wood smoke particles during high pollution days is equivalent to smoking 4 to 16 cigarettes. Medical studies have linked air pollution with lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, asthma, and even brain damage. People most at-risk for damage from air pollution include asthma sufferers, diabetics, those with congenital hearth failure, and children."
    *http://www.achooallergy.com/fireplace-air-pollution.asp

    6. "Fine particulate matter, the very small particles that make up smoke and soot, may be the most insidious component of wood smoke pollution. The most harmful particles are those ten microns or less in diameter (a human hair is approximately 70 microns in diameter). These particles can easily be inhaled deep into the lungs, collecting in the tiny air sacs (called alveoli) where oxygen enters the blood, causing breathing difficulties and sometimes permanent lung damage. The particles are also often composed of harmful substances, such as sulfate, which is acidic, and toxic trace metals like lead and cadmium. Inhalation of fine particulate matter can increase cardiovascular problems, irritate lungs and eyes, trigger headaches and allergic reactions, and worsen respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, resulting in premature deaths.
    Pollution from wood stoves is a particular concern in the winter when cold, stagnant air and temperature inversions limit air movement."
    *http://www.des.state.nh.us/factsheets/ard/ard-36.htm

    7.... it goes on and oaaachoooo!

    Aye,
    Marty
  15. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    The OP received replies from ACTUAL ALLEGRY SUFFERERS who also burn wood in their homes, many quite positive.
    Marty is posting "medical" material from other sources, some of which may well be predudiced against wood burners.
    Listen to your doctor...IF He Is Experienced With Modern Woodstoves...otherwise Mr. MD might just be quoting the latest study. (Like Marty)
  16. Poult

    Poult Member

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    A friend of mine has bad allergies, I mean to everything, and the culprit to her wood stove was the mold on the wood. She went to a pellet stove two years ago and has no problems whatsoever from that stove.

    Why not take the kid to different friends houses or dealers showrooms with working stoves? If he has a reaction then you know that wood stoves are out for him.


    Poult
  17. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    I am simply pointing out known hazards of wood burning some may not be aware of or some may not believe are real; i.e., "I can't smell anything so it's OK" - this is faulty logic and could be harmful for the wrong person.

    Nothing always pertains to everybody. Of course there are exceptions as has been pointed out.

    I simply want to encourage intelligent informed safe and healthy wood burning.

    Aye,
    Marty
  18. narutojp

    narutojp New Member

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    I developed asthma while living in Japan (originally I'm from Canada). I suspect my asthma developed for various reasons including different pollens from Canada, and my old residence (concrete apartment with wallpaper that had mold behind it). My asthma is mild, very mild. We built our house with a wood stove, and for me I haven't had any problems yet. Your concerns about the smoke and wood mold are valid, but those don't have to be problems. Modern stoves are very efficient and so smoke in the house should be a rarity. If your wood is stored properly outside, and you only bring in a small amount at a time then mold shouldn't be a concern. Everyone in my family suffers from allergies, but our wood stove is not a problem. Your child's health is most important, so if the asthma is bad then maybe you shouldn't get a stove. Lastly, for my asthma I learned that stress was a big factor in how good or bad the allergens affected me. I love my wood stove, and cutting, splitting and chopping wood is not only good exercise for me, but it relieves my stress (strange as it may seem).
  19. littlalex

    littlalex Member

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    People are jumping back and forth using Asthma and allergies interchangeably. I don't have any first hand experience with allergies, but I understand that for most people they result in mostly misery and discomfort. I'm aware there will be exceptions.

    I have very direct experience with Asthma, which my wife suffers with and pretty much results in a serious attack yearly requiring hospitalization.
    What I'm trying to say is that generally, Asthma is a more serious and dangerous condition. It also turns out that the common "medical" wisdom
    of my young days that asthma generally improved or went away with age is pretty much totally wrong. There is a veritable epidemic of Asthma going around
    with serious consequences, mostly for older women (no one is sure why).

    We moved up country here in Hewitt, NJ a little over a year ago and joined the board last fall because there is a "classic" smokedragon (77' VC Vigilant). I was getting
    into the wood burning big time but it was a health disaster for both of us (I suffer from moderate COPD). After a bunch of research, medical and otherwise I abandoned
    my plan to get a non cat EPA II stove for our heating. Broke my heart.

    My experience (as to whatever the actual physical/medical reality - they might not be the same) is that is was the particulate stuff that was the biggest villain.

    Not much point in saving big fuel money...in our case the cost in medical care more than trumps it and then there is this death thing

    I'm really not trying to pee on plans, just saying look long and hard and do the research. Sorry my first post back since I stopped burning is such a downer.

    Littlalex
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