Improve the Quality of Emissions Produced by Your Wood Burning Stove or Fireplace
When thinking of fire safety you naturally think of installing and checking smoke detectors and creating a fire safety plan for your home. You have safety measures in place to prevent a house fire and to prevent yourself and others from getting burned. One of the often overlooked safety issues when it comes to wood stoves and fireplaces is air pollution. It is not well known that these heating appliances may put you and your family at risk of some serious health problems.
When we think of breathing problems we all know the harms of smoking cigarettes and exposure to second hand smoke. But we don’t consider the harms of breathing in smoke from our wood-burning appliances. If you smell smoke inside your home you are in danger of exposure to harmful pollutants like the microscopic particles contained in wood smoke. Studies have shown that these particles and pollutants can harm your lungs and heart and even cause premature death.
Breathing in these particles can do more than just cause you to cough. These pollutants can also impair lung development in young children, amplify symptoms of COPD and trigger asthma attacks. For individuals with existing heart conditions’, breathing in these particles has been linked to irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, stroke and heart failure.
There are some precautions you can take to prevent exposure to these harmful particles. The EPA recommends you follow 3 simple rules, “burn the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance.”
The right wood is wood that has been dried for about 6 months before burning. Use starter wood or dry kindling to start your fire and never burn garbage, plastic or printed wood or paper which can release toxins into the air.
Wet wood will create an excessive amount of smoke and lower the heat of your fire. You can purchase a moisture meter to check the moisture level of your wood before you burn. Properly dried would should have 20% or less moisture content in order to burn efficiently.
New EPA-certified wood stoves and fireplace inserts can reduce air pollutants by 70 percent compared to older wood burning appliances.
Regular maintenance should be performed by a professional to ensure that your fireplace, stove or insert is working safely.