Friday, December 5, 2008

Toxic Burning Smell

In our attempt to do some much needed home maintenance, I decided to have our gas fireplace looked at.

Last Winter whenever I turned it on I would get a headache. I smelled this weird burning smell, too.

So, I immediately turned it off and called the fire department. JUST to ask them a couple questions about what I should be looking for.

They were at my house in 2.5 minutes - in a fire truck. Not the big one, but still a fire truck.

My son was beside himself.

Yeah, me too, as the neighbors each came out of their cozy homes to see what was going on.

So, the fire department took a look and tested for Carbon Monoxide.

Which I told them was not the problem because like a good mom - I have Carbon Monoxide detectors and the batteries work. Plus, isn't Carbon Monoxide odorless? I was definitely smelling something.

They next tested for gas leaks - none.
Their answer to my problem was simply that there was nothing they could find wrong. Don't you just love that answer!?!?!

Basically, it's like saying, "You are crazy lady. Nothing wrong here."

So, since I was the only one in the house that could smell it and got headaches, thanks to my super duper sense of smell, we just left it off the rest of the year.

Until this Winter when B turned it on again and I got the headache.

This time I called a professional gas fireplace checker guy.

He came out today and guess what he does for his main job? He's a Fireman. For the Fire Department that I called out last year. Yup.

He did a very thorough job checking out my fireplace. I assured him that there was definitely something toxic coming out of there to be putting off such a smell and causing me the headaches.

He said yes there was.


He pulled, well, I am a little embarrassed to even say... A.LOT. of dirt and dust from my fireplace.

Apparently, it was clogging it up and burning and putting off that smell which in turn gave me a headache. Which is not unusual for me. Sometimes high fragrance candles do the same thing.


Not Carbon Monoxide, or gas or anything toxic but good ole' fashioned dirt.

'Cause I'm a good housekeeper and all. But seriously, who cleans inside their gas fireplace?

Alas, the ending is happy to this story. It only cost me $45 for him to clean out my fireplace. But, now there are no headaches or burning smell.

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Kristin said...

Ha! That's funny. Actually, it's a good thing you had it cleaned. A few years ago we looked outside and saw my neighbor's chimney on fire - flames shooting out the top of it. They had no idea... could have burned the house down. Now that wouldn't have a very happy ending!

Allison said...

Well, at least you didn't have to do it!

And, no, I don't clean out my gas fireplace either, but we have only used it, I am not a good judge of whether it would smell from burning dirt!

PS I have my soup recipe all ready to post tomorrow :)

EE said...

LOL! We had a similar incident with a faulty carbon monoxide detector. Pretty embarrassing.
I totally didn't know that you are supposed to clean out the gas fireplace. Our house is about 3 1/2 years old. Not sure I even know how to get inside it.
I think I'll get Steve on it!

Kellie said...

Love the new holiday blog look! It's terrific!

I am glad that your fireplace woes turned out to be just dirt. I wouldn't have ever thought about cleaning it either? I mean, really, how does one go about cleaning something you can't even see into?

If you can't see it, it's clean right?


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