When I planned my move to a new house in a state up north, one of the changes that was exciting me the most was finally having a fireplace for the first time in my life. Having grown up in the south where you’re more likely to find a screened lanai than a chimney or fireplace, I had never even been inside a house or building before with actual lit wood inside a fireplace or woodstove. I had only images from movies and tv shows to associate with the experience, not the physical smell or the respiratory effects. My biggest health concern is my asthma; the rest of my body is in great shape, but my lungs have never been at 100% regardless of my environment or habits. Some places are better than others, especially after I moved out of a moldy apartment that had been giving me woes for years. But I never stopped to think about how this would play out with burning wood in my house. I thought all of it went up my chimney and wouldn’t affect my lungs. Unfortunately, it’s an older house and despite regular chimney cleanings done by previous owners, it just doesn’t completely vent out all of the smoke when you have a fire roaring. I was having problems wheezing and coughing for weeks before I gave up and had a new furnace installed to get me through the rest of the winter season. I have already looked into investing in a brand new wood stove and an updating chimney venting system put into place for the following year. This should help remove some of the residual smoke that lingers in my house and aggravates my lungs. For now the gas furnace I installed should get me through til Spring.