I have been focused on air quality ever since I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of nine.
- Back then we weren’t sure if I was simply sensitive to seasonal allergies, or if it was something more.
The doctor prescribed me two different inhalers—one to use daily, and another to use whenever I had severe difficulty breathing. To my luck, I never had more than two severe asthma attacks, and I was lucky to have my inhalers on me in both instances. But that’s probably because I don’t put myself in situations where I could be at serious risk, such as a camping trip deep into the woods somewhere remote. Even if I am conservative about what I do in life to mitigate risks for asthma triggers, I can inadvertently expose myself to a completely different set of problems here at home. I bought and installed a wood stove this year without fully understanding the need for sufficient ventilation. The chimney hadn’t been cleaned in a number of years and that was a critical error. Thankfully I live in Orland Park, Illinois and I had carbon monoxide detectors already installed throughout my house, otherwise I wouldn’t have learned that a wood stove could produce carbon monoxide. That’s the day when I learned that even candles produce minute amounts of carbon monoxide, but a wood stove is a much bigger fire. After I put the fire out, I called a fireplace and woodstove specialist and that’s when they discovered the soot buildup in my chimney. Now I can finally use my wood stove without worrying about poisoning my indoor air.