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What do you think?
Just ease up on the smoking.
Have someone come look at it, just in case.
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  • Locked thread
Jun 3, 2006


Our apartment is heated with a natural gas Rinnai heater - an older "Energy Saver 1001F" - and there's a part of me that's convinced something is drastically wrong with it. The problem is that every time I've outright flipped out over it was a time when I was smoking pot and, presumably, susceptible to anxiety. The first time, it happened when I was alone; I had come home early from work, fired up the pipe, then fired up the heater. I felt that I had turned up the heater higher than normal. I stood in front of the heater and felt like it was more... just kind of leaking heat, instead of blowing it forcefully like I expect it to, and it was wafting up into my face. At this point, either Bad Stuff Was Happening OR I was having an anxiety attack. My heart started pounding, I felt a sort of lightheaded rush feeling... I immediately shut off the heater and opened the windows. I waited for a while and started to feel better. I leaned out the window to look at the vent we're against an outside wall on the ground floor, so it's just right there behind the heater) and it appeared unobstructed. Later, after I had calmed down, I turned the heater back on and the problem didn't reoccur - but I didn't turn it back up as high as before.

A few weeks later, last Thursday night (2/8) I was up late with my fiance. Again, supporting the anxiety argument: I had a job interview scheduled for the next morning and had gotten up because I couldn't fall asleep. I smoked up. We had the heater on and were watching TV when it made a loudish metal-changing-shape kind of ponging noise. It made both of us jump at first, but we were fine - then I started to feel the same sort of heavy-chest heart-pounding lightheadedness that I had a few weeks before. I jumped off the couch and turned off the heater. I stood there for a few minutes while I was talking to my fiance about it and I could feel the heat wafting up into my face and I felt even a little more swimmy in my head... when I moved away from the heater, I felt better. From that point onward, I have not been able to be comfortable with the heater. I slept maybe 3 hours that night because I had (obviously) much more trouble falling asleep. My fiance is convinced there is no problem; she hasn't felt the same symptoms that I've experienced, despite sitting right next to me on the couch when it happened.

However, since then I've always felt a sort of flatness in my chest whenever I'm around the heater. I stayed sober for a few nights, though I was still residually anxious about the heater and also about waiting for an answer on the job. I smoked one night and still felt the panic feeling every time the heater fired up, but kept myself under control. I feel like I've noticed the specific pattern: the heater rolls up and I start feeling heaviness and my heart pounds. I get cold sweats. The heater stops and I breathe a little easier, slowly, over time; then, when I feel relaxed again, the heater fires back up and the cycle restarts. Some of these feelings also occur when I'm sober - I've had the heart pounding, but not the head rush - but in my mind, it seems reasonable to assume that those times weren't the middle of the night, so it was warmer and I didn't crank the heater high enough for whatever problem it was to occur.

After the first night - when it happened with both of us home - I changed the batteries in the smoke detectors (one on the wall opposite/above the heater, one on the ceiling at the top of the stairs) and the carbon monoxide detector (not mounted, just sitting on the banister at the top of the stairs). The smoke detectors are also carbon monoxide detectors. Yesterday, I found out that I got the job and I have felt so relieved - so I figured I'll smoke up again, thinking it was just the job that was bothering me. We did - took a hit, chilled for a bit more than an hour, took another one. I was feeling cold, so I got up and turned up the heat; then when I sat down, it started again. I felt the same thing every time the heater spins up.

This is loving killing me. My fiance thinks I'm just being crazy because she doesn't feel it at all. Is it possible for our old heater to be venting some kind of asphyxiant into our apartment that bothers me before it bothers her and also doesn't set off the smoke detectors? There's no strange smells. We've been in the apartment for 2.5 years and not had any problems with it, though the heater's never been serviced since we moved in. When the guy from the gas company turned our gas back on last fall, he remarked on the heater being old and mentioned it might stop working altogether at some point.

There are currently two working theories. Theory one is that I got high and was anxious about other stuff, then the heater was turned up too high and the apartment warmed up quickly, combining with the noise of the heater to trigger an unexpected panic reaction. Theory two is that there's something wrong with the heater; it's old, it's been in use for a while, and it saw more use this winter than before with how cold it's been. The problem isn't bothering my fiance but is bothering me because... metabolic rates or something. I feel symptoms when not high because they DO exist but I don't have a panic attack about it, I just wait it out because I want to believe I'm just crazy. The problems present in the late evenings when I was high - not BECAUSE I was high, but because those are the times when I'm vegetating on the couch and just crank the heat up a little more aggressively than normal.

I haven't contacted the landlord about it because I'm concerned it might just be me.

TL;DR: am I loving nuts? Would it be reasonable for me to have someone come look at the heater? I'm so miserable about this and it's driving my fiance insane.

EDIT: I called the Rinnai customer service line, described the situation. The person I talked to there thought it very unlikely that the problems I'm experiencing are because of the heater, but suggested that we should have someone come and service it anyway, especially since it's an older heater.

Ignoranus fucked around with this message at Feb 14, 2018 around 23:43


Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004

Fun Shoe

You done gone and smoked yourself stupid. What you're describing sounds a lot like the start of a panic attack, and you should probably talk to a doctor about that instead of smoking up.

Pentecoastal Elites
Feb 27, 2007

Take some money out of your weed fund and spend the $100 or whatever for a furnace inspection and tune-up (or if you can get your LL to do this, all the better), if only to make yourself calm down about a totally normal operating heater that is not tripping your (multiple!) CO2 detectors.

Also take some time to learn exactly how a furnace works and what each part is doing. This sort of thing has always helped with my anxiety.

Also loving cool it on the weed dude jesus. "Boy I get really anxious and paranoid whenever I'm high for some reason! Welp, time to smoke a bowl". Take melatonin if you have trouble sleeping.

Sep 11, 2008

College Slice

You would probably be dead if it were leaking.

Jun 3, 2006


Thanks for all the help. I hadn't had an anxiety response to weed before, but apparently that's now A Thing for me. Time to figure out how to find a therapist (and also to have a professional come look at it anyway).

  • Locked thread