This won’t be a long post. I’d planned to do an update regarding my health with my last lab results but I have a news flash that won’t wait.
This afternoon, I was cleaning in the living room and got a brush and dustpan to sweep up some of the gravel Twinkle had pulled out of the fireplace onto the little hearth. Months ago, I’d decided to get rid of the gas coming into the house. I was too paranoid about the logs to even turn them on to see if they would set off the carbon monoxide detector.
I was busily sweeping up the gravel and tossing it back into the fireplace when I was overcome with curiosity about the damper. I’d wondered before but never got around to checking it. There is a lever at the right of the firebox that I thought controlled it. It was in the middle position. I pushed it up. I could hear something moving. I pushed it down. I heard something again but I didn’t know where it was in relation to the rest of the fireplace.
Getting down on my knees, I looked up into the chimney. I could see the damper so I moved the lever up and down but nothing happened above me. The damper was closed. Shut. Tight. And it stayed that way.
Then I noticed another lever in front that would move from left to right. It was all the way to the left. I moved it to the right and heard a grating sound. I looked up the chimney again and the damper was open. I moved it back to its original position and it closed.
I was excited about my discovery so I went to find my neighbor. I told her what I’d seen and then came back to the house. When DD and I had our visit today, I told her, too.
What I remember about that winter was that it got bitter cold. I was in the habit of leaving some of the windows open because I have always been a fresh air nut. However, it got so cold that I closed the windows and left them closed until the weather warmed up. My rebounder was located close to the fireplace and I would rebound and stay warm with the heat from the logs. It didn’t take long until I started having symptoms.
Tonight, I got out the manual for the fireplace. The lever to the right of the firebox is the outside air vent. It was halfway closed. With the damper all the way closed, carbon monoxide was building up in the house. Maybe there was enough air coming in through the outside vent to keep it at a less than lethal level. I don’t know. What I do know is, Twinkle and I are fortunate to be alive. AND my naturopath was the first to spot the signs of CO poisoning. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have kept on using the logs.
Gas logs are a wonderful way to get warm quickly. If used properly, they are safe. I didn’t use them properly and I’m still paying the price. If you have gas logs, make sure they are installed correctly and you understand how to operate them safely.
I’m not sorry I don’t have that heat source any more. It was more of a luxury than a necessity. And more of a luxury than I can afford.