Posts Tagged ‘Problems’

Musings On Air Quality

November 29, 2010

Lately I’ve been pondering the question of winter indoor air quality here at the Cold House, spurred a bit by posts by Crunchy Chicken, who is working on a book about environmental toxins.  Also spurred by the observation that when we cook something smelly for dinner, it stays smelly-smelling downstairs for a long time.

To be honest I’m not overly concerned about natural hazards (mold, mites, very small snakes), because (a) we don’t seem to be very sensitive to such things, and (b) they are naturally minimized by cold temperatures.  I’m more worried about volatile chemical substances, including phthalates and other bizarre hydrocarbon substances such as might come from vinyl shower curtains, scented candles, burned food, cleaning products, etc.  If any of these are present, they’re definitely sticking around longer in winter than in summer when all the windows are open.

The wood stove you might think to be a big offender in this mix, and certainly some I’ve used in the past were prone to filling the house with carcinogenic-smelling smoke.  Often you knew you were in a wood-burning house as soon as you walked in the door.  Our new Jøtul, however, is so well-designed that it virtually never gives even a hint of smoke odor.  In fact, the stove is probably the #1 positive force for good air quality in the house: it pulls old air up the chimney, and fresh air sneaks in through cracks to replace it.

Which leads to more questions.  For example, what is the overall best way to provide fresh air for the stove?  When I was installing the stove, I was thinking a lot about draft-avoidance.  I was excited by an available accessory for the stove called a “fresh air (more…)


December 10, 2009

One of our two hot water bottles burst the night before last. Maybe there was too much air in it, or the water was a bit too hot (J. likes to fill it with actual boiling water!)– anyway, it sort of expanded like a balloon I think, and burst a seem. Unfortunately J. was in bed with it at the time and got a bit of a scald to the leg, but she seems to have recuperated. Also unfortunately, our second “hottie” is out on loan to a friend. I better warn her. Too bad the hotties didn’t come from an identifiable, U.S. company– we could sue the hell out of them for this.