The cold winter weather brings in frigid temperatures and an unbearably cold atmosphere in your home. Sometimes it may feel as though your home is colder than the swirling degrees outside, leaving you running to the furnace to awaken the heat, and even better igniting a cozy warm fire in the fireplace to thaw your freezing body. The fireplace is a commonly used item in most homes during the winter months when the weather is frightfully cold because of its wonderful ability to heat up an environment rapidly – which is exactly what you want when you and your environment are at freezing climates. However, unbeknownst to many people, the fireplace can produce many hazards in the confined space where it is present.
When people use their fireplace, chemicals are released into the air, and some of these chemicals are poisonous irritants that can inflame the respiratory tract system. The combination of the winter months and the use of a fireplace can also be an undesirable amalgam, as the stagnant air prevents the wood smoke from rising and dispersing which increases the level of pollutants in the confined environment of your home.
Fireplace Pollution & Its Effects
Wood smoke is a mixture of solids, gases, and liquids that contains hundreds of air pollutants that can cause a plethora of health issues upon exposure. One of the most hazardous and worrisome pollutants found in wood smoke is called ‘Fine Particulate Matter’. Fine particulate matter can be inhaled into the body, deep into the lungs, and remain there for months which can lead to diseases and even structural damage.
Most particles found in wood smoke are smaller than 2.5 microns in size, which is smaller in diameter than a human hair. Any particulate matter that is 2.5 microns in size or smaller are identified as fine particulate matter.
Studies have shown that fine particulate matter, even at low levels, is harmful to human health – this is due to the fact that these particles are able to get past the respiratory system in the body and reach the deepest areas of the lungs, which can eventually lead to the entrance of the particles into the bloodstream. So, just a short amount of time of wood smoke exposure from your fireplace can lead to a high risk of health effects to those that are exposed.
Fireplace Smoke Inhalation Symptoms
Wood fire smoke is composed of various chemicals and compounds that create its potentially lethal composition. Amongst the different chemicals in wood smoke, you will find various organic chemicals (such as benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and PAHs) that can lead to and contribute to health problems in the respiratory system. Breathing in the many components of fireplace smoke can lead to both short-and long-term effects, these can include the following symptoms;
- Irritation to the nose, eyes, and lungs
- Lung inflammation
- Increased risk of lower respiratory disease
- Reduced lung function, particularly for children
- Chronic lung disease
- Chemical and structural damage to lungs
It is also important to take into consideration that certain individuals are at an increased risk of developing health issues upon fireplace smoke exposure. Infants, children, the elderly, and adults with existing heart or lung conditions are more prone to developing health risks from fireplace smoke exposure. Whereas healthy adults can develop somewhat acute symptoms that can range from irritation to the nose, throat, and lungs to difficulty breathing.
Fireplace Smell – Why Does My Fireplace Smoke Up the Whole House?
Fireplace smoke can travel fast and steadily throughout an environment, and fireplace smoke is no exception. The chimney of the fireplace or the flue, is there to assist in the updraft that pulls the smoke and hot gasses from the fire and away from the indoor environment. However, sometimes the chimney and flute can fail, which will lead to a collection of smoke in your home that will create an odor and taint your air quality significantly. Also, different variables inside your home can impact the risks of fireplace smoke such as lack of ventilation inside the home. Many ‘newer’ homes are faced with this issue, as homebuilders are constructing tighter homes that will be more energy efficient. This will leave the home full of smoke pollutants with litter air flow coming in for the air to pushed out and replaced.
Fireplace Odor Removal
Ash and smoke from a fireplace can create an odor that will stick to almost every surface in your home. The smell can linger on flooring, upholstery, curtains, and even counter tops which will leave your home smelling like an ash tray, gross! To ensure that this does not occur in your home, be diligent cleaning your fireplace – the cleaner it is the less likely it will be for the smoke to spread throughout your home, tainting the air and surfaces inside your house with a pungent odor. However, if you ignite a fire before you clean your fireplace and smoke odor travels all throughout the area, you will need a solution – one that will eliminate smoke odor from surfaces and treat the air inside the home.
How to Get Rid of Fireplace Smoke Smell
Fireplace smoke can enter into your home and quickly spread, impacting the air quality inside your home. Smoke contains hundreds and thousands of chemicals that can be dangerous to humans upon exposure and inhalation. Some of the main components found in smoke include corrosive gases, hydrocarbons, fats & oils, resins & waxes, and particulate matter. Many people will turn to fresh air as the solution to getting rid of fireplace smoke in the air of the home, however, fresh air can only help so much. Tiny particulate matter will stay inside the air, clinging onto the air inside your home.
Therefore, when your home still contains a heavy lingering odor of smoke and you are still affected by the air, you may consider turning to an efficient air purifier for smoke removal. The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System is unlike any other air purification device, with a patented technology that is proven to eliminate toxic and noxious chemicals & trapping/eliminating fine particulate matter larger than 0.3 microns in size. This air purification device is easy to use and effective at neutralizing the harmful and corrosive chemicals like those found in fire smoke.
Protecting your home and your air quality from fireplace smoke can be easily accomplished. And with the right tools and information you can ignite your winter fire inside your home without the worry of tainting your indoor air quality.