Why Hydrotherm Hydronic Heating is a Breath of Fresh Air (Part II)

How Wood Fires and Ducted Heating Could be Bad for your Health

When building an allergy-free, eco-friendly home, cost can be a huge consideration; however, so can health, especially when good health has been missing from your life for the good part of a decade and a half. In my last post I discussed how using hydronic heating is the only sure way to have a dust-free home. A dust-free home can be a mould-free home (providing you don’t allow for water damage!). Before I show the installation of the Build an Eco-friendly, Allergy-free House project’s hydronic heating ‘fit out’, by Hydrotherm, let’s look at some of the most unsuitable heating systems for people with respiratory illness, asthma, CIRS (also known as mould illness) and illness related to chemical sensitivity:

How can Wood-smoke Fires Still be Popular?

Woodsmoke, I’ve written about it before, but unless someone has an illness like myself and many other readers here, some ‘other’ (not caring about our Earth!) type of people still find wood-fires romantic, tribal or ambient or… burn-old-furniture type of cheap. Not only does storing the wood create a haven for dust and mould but you’re likely to get PM2.5 particles in your house dust after each burn… and your lungs. Plus what you dump into your neighbours’ lungs. Let’s hope they don’t have asthma or chemical sensitivity, CIRS, or respiratory illness! Especially the children.

More on wood-smoke from Australian Air Quality Group:

‘There are no safe PM2.5 Levels’.

PM2.5 are a pollutant with no safe level, that (in Europe) cause 20 times as many premature deaths as the next worst pollutant (ozone). The sensible strategy would be to spend substantially more resources reducing PM2.5 than other pollutants.

Sadly, the approach in “Action for Air” is based on politics, not logic.  For example, a single new woodheater installed in Sydney has estimated health costs of $4,000 per year.  Although this is only half the costs of an existing woodheater (see right column), it is hard to understand why anyone who knows and understand the true health costs, or the amount of pollution emitted by a new woodheater, would want to use one.”

So while some people are practing ignorance, or romance (or both), and the Australian Government are ignoring health statistics, others, like us are practising how to seal our houses up from woodsmoke sneaking in: through door cracks, loose windows, exhaust flues in kitchens and bathrooms and even cracks in the floorboards—we’re running around with painters’ masking tape and cotton wool trying to seal up the cracks in our (Environmental Pollution Authority) EPA’s system. Running air purifiers. Wearing masks. In our own homes. Anything to avoid symptoms bought on by inhaling woodsmoke night after cold, painful night.

Not much longer I tell myself. Drooling over Hydrotherm images of the heating panels on Instagram, lol.

Now, think, if everyone had hydronic systems connected to gas, electric or solar? The air quality could be far better. If the Australian government bought in kickbacks for replacing wood-fire heating systems for hydronic systems, it would show they care about the environment and the true cost of health! “4 k a year in health costs from wood fire heating!” Seriously?

Green Building

(image source: pixabay)

Why ducted heating systems can be bad for People with Respiratory Illness, MCS, Lung Disease and CIRS patients

Other heating I instinctively stayed away from were the ducted versions. Even before I was sick they felt dry and, in many rentals, just blew dust around until the air felt parched, devoid of oxygen, dust, caked into my eyes and nostrils.

One rental, I had to move out after dust and fragrance (and possibly mould) were stirred up by having the ducted heating system professionally cleaned.

And, as it happens: ducted heating systems will spread mould around your house if you have an area that’s water damaged and growing mould. They are notorious for it.

If your house is relatively new and mould free, a ducted heating system is an expensive yet adequate heater if kept clean and turned off at the slightest water leak or need for damage control if mould is found.

For a ducted system not to spread mould, you’d need to know about the leak as, or just after, it happens, dry it within 24-48 hours, and! turn all fans, ducted heating systems, HVACs and exhaust fans off until the mould is taken care of. Again: If this doesn’t happen the ducted heating just spreads it throughout the whole house.

Fact: A ducted heating system uses 3 times the gas than a hydronic system.

Hydrotherm Hydronic Heating is like a breath of fresh air because they don’t pollute the indoor airspace. They allow for a pristine environment, free from allergens such as dust and mould.

Hydrotherm Part I: Radiant Heat Fights Allergies with Hydrotherm Hydronic Heating

Hydrotherm Part II: Why Hydrotherm Hydronic Heating is a Breath of Fresh Air

Hydrotherm Part III: Hydrotherm Hydronic heating for our Eco-friendly, Allergy Free House

Hydrotherm Contact Details

Hydrotherm: Hydronic Heating

Greenheat: Hydronic Heating

Hydrotherm Instagram

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Wanted: Husband for Chemically Sensitive Woman


Hi, today, I’m placing an ad out for a husband. Please read carefully before applying for this specialised position:

  • For visual entertainment must be able to wash dishes while wearing only boxer-short type undies. Footy shorts are a fine alternative to boy-leg knickers.
  • To avoid contaminating the indoor airspace must be willing to take clothes off outside, or at least in another room, and head straight for the shower (Yes, coincidently, this happens to be visually entertaining also, but that’s not the actual reason for this rule.)
  • Must be able to explain the ins’ and outs’ of this rule to visitors and be able to facilitate the actions needed to sustain it—actually, to protect visitors modesty and the neighbours eyes from seeing your uncle Ted naked, maybe we’ll just forgo visitors until my health recovers, hey?

Visitor Protocol

  • However, if we must have visitors then they must keep a set of clothes here that haven’t been washed in fabric softener, washing powder, or worn with fragrance. These clothes must be new and have been washed here at my house, in my machine and with our fragrance-free liquid (It’s the only one my immune system is okay with (for now until my tolerance comes back). Visitor showers at home with our bodywash, shampoo, conditioner and whatever else they need (shave cream/moisturiser), which we supply. You’re welcome. Visitor must drive here in a car that doesn’t have a Fragrance Emitting Device blowing out fragrance over them; or with a Scented Xmas Tree hanging from the rear vision mirror. Then when they arrive they discreetly shower (again) with our products, then put on their fresh clothes. Lunch or dinner will then be served!

    Other Notes

  • You must understand that even after a quick nick down to the supermarket, fragrances and cleaning chemical VOC residues will stick to clothing, therefore, you need to take a shower and change clothes (See take Clothes off Outside rule.). I don’t get to go shopping or into a supermarket. Rarely, I go to Costco (which is another blog post entirely!) but I wear a mask, change clothes afterwards in the car, then shower and wash hair when I get home: even with all this preparation, I can still end up laying in bed like something the dog vomited up for some days later.
  • The same rules apply to putting petrol in the car, visiting relatives, going to work—actually, going just about anywhere. I’d love to compromise on this rule for the sake of convenience and getting along with you, but, I’m sorry, my health is more important.
  • Understand that there are House clothes and Going Out clothes. It doesn’t matter how good your bum looks in those G-Star Raw jeans, you cannot wear them in the house. Now take them off. Outside. (But leave the shorty shorts on.)
  • Also understand that there are varying degrees of chemical exposure and the amount of VOC and chemical irritants (aka fragrance) that get on your clothes will impact on my quality of life (aka breathing); the solution to this: Going Out clothes can’t be washed with House clothes.
  • Going Out clothes need to be aired in between washes to avoid the build up of VOCs and harmful fragrance ingredients
  • Due to mould and dust sensitivity, House clothes can’t be folded and put away without being washed first; and furthermore, they must be aired on the rack in the bathroom between wearing them. May I suggest you choose a couple of sets of clothing and wear them on rotation, washing them at the end of the week, like I do?

    Woodsmoke rules:

  • When it’s smoky outside, in between uses, the bathroom door needs to stay taped up with painters masking tape (It doesn’t pull the paint off like ordinary masking tape does.). If it’s left unsealed, woodsmoke can enter the house and impact my health, possibly making me ill—for days.
  • If you feel like you can’t be bothered pulling off the masking tape and then reapplying it in the middle of the night, please understand that you can’t just go pee outside when it’s smoky because the smoke particles will adhere to your clothes and skin and impact on my sinuses, possibly giving me a headache—it doesn’t matter if you can’t smell it because it’s actually the chemicals not the smell that is the problem, here
  • Washing can’t be left outside at all during the cooler months because of the woodsmoke and mould spores that will get into our clothing, so it must be dried inside the bathroom with the AusClimate dehumidifier running and must happen during the day—before it gets smoky in the evening.

Mould Rules

  • Take out the trash before anything starts to oxidise, therefore causing my sinuses to react to that rotting apple core left in there last night, which I might just throw at you on account of recidivism (dying to use that word, which just means repeat offending)
  • When I tell you there is microbial activity or fragrance on something, therefore, it must go outside, you must take my word for it. Any debating on this issue will cause a domestic the scale of Hiroshima.
  • If we are in bed and about to go to sleep yet I’m having symptoms of fragrance exposure, you need to go shower again. This time use Bicarbonate of soda, please. (It’s on the top shelf next to the shower.)
  • Any fabric that’s been left wet and in a pile for more than 48 hours will go in the bin. Mildew doesn’t wash out for people who’re are mould sensitive and mould grows after 48 hours
  • Must fulfil this: Take care of my plants until I recover due to my breathing issues I have with damp soil
  • Do not turn off any of my 3 running InovaAir or Austin air purifiers. Or prepare to die a painful death.
  • Please run the AusClimate dehumidifier after each shower so my bathroom doesn’t go mouldy
  • No shoes in the house
  • Wash dog for me when I’m sick please
  • No cooking in the house until I recover
  • Use all fragrance free personal care products and don’t use fragrances that are marketed as ‘Aftershave’, ‘Perfume’ or ‘Non-Gender specific’. If you think you can use it on the days you don’t see me, what you need to realise is this: it adheres to all your clothes and does not wash out. It makes me sick for reasons only recently discovered, yet, I have had to live with this pain in my head, sinus, airways and eyes for 14 years and still do. A cure is in sight though but don’t, for a nanosecond, think you can abandon me and then when I’m all better come back all Lothario in nature with a bunch of roses and a bottle of perfume cause I won’t want you then. And out of respect for my friends who do have MCS/EHS, ME/CFS/SEID and other medical conditions where chemical sensitivity is a symptom, I won’t wear the so-called luxury product and may just throw it at you!

PS: I recently had a NeuroQuant MRI, which shows I have atrophy in parts of my brain. I believe this gives license to behaving like a two year old; and also explains a change in my behaviour over the last 4 years. Also, breathing in fragrance really hurts my head, incredibly so, therefore, tantrums are to be expected!

Oh, and only Real Men who are Vegan may apply!

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Bicarb from a Chemist or the Supermarket?

What is The Difference Between Bicarbonate of Soda Bought from a Chemist and Bicarb Bought In Supermarkets?

Answer: There is no difference. All of the bicarb will be about as useful as a wet organic cotton sock used as a beanie during a winter storm while stuck on Mt Everest.

Bicarbonate of soda is made to absorb chemicals, odours and air particle residues. It was used in 9/11 to soak up the chemical residue… Pharmacies/Chemists sell fragrances, often scattering ‘tester bottles’ of Britney Spears, J Lo and Paris sporadically and spastically around consumer goods so that consumers can ‘try’ them on. (What does this say about a person’s state of mind if they want to ‘smell’ like someone else in particular? I could take this post to a whole new level, psychologically, but I won’t… not today.) Therefore, the longer the box—usually cardboard—is in the shop, the more and more and more fragrance chemicals it will absorb.

Supermarkets, however, sell a whole lot more products with fragrance chemicals outgassing into the air (washing powders and fabric softeners and dryer sheets and shampoos and conditioners and every personal care product you can even possibly dream or have nightmares about. Plus! They sell sinister products like Linx/Axe, which are not only evil, and contain fragrance chemicals but also Solvents and Butane and Petrochemicals: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCS) that help disperse fragrance chemicals into the air, and onto everything else they subsequently adhere to. They also stock Herbicides, such as Roundup (in the same room as the food!); and Pesticides for every pest a woman or man may want to snuff out get rid of. (And, don’t even think about all the Phthalates and Synthetic Musks lurking around joint!) All of these are going to be in your bicarbonate of soda.


(A) If you are not chemically sensitive, open the packet and sniff the contents, either in the store (or outside, after you pay for it) then return it, complaining that it reeks of Paris Hilton, or whoever or whatever you can smell, and it’s, “unfit for purpose”. Then go to option (B)

(B) If you are chemically sensitive, and breathing in the chemical residues make you ill (therefore, you can’t sniff before you buy) or you are not chemically sensitive, you just prefer not to sniff this crap, then get it online from a store that sells only fragrance free products or, preferably, only food, or, even more preferably, organic food. If you use it solely for clothes washing you need to source it in bulk.

Remember, bicarbonate of soda is food grade, therefore, it’s not suitable to be bought from places that sell chemicals. Oh, God! Especially if you plan to cook with it!

Have you had success (or not) buying Bicarbonate of Soda, lately?  Please share…


Greenpeace: Perfume – An Investigation of Chemicals in 36 Eaux de Toilette and Eaux de Parfum

All Photography copyright © Michellina van Loder 2015. Except for Key photo sourced from UK.freeimages.com

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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