Can Wood Burn Pollution-free?
For the environmentally sensitive – which is a large and growing number of people – burning wood to heat your home is considered a sure way to add significant amounts of pollution into the already polluted air. But is this true? Will wood, regardless how it’s burned, create a more toxic atmosphere?
Not necessarily. A new generation of wood stoves is changing a lot of people’s minds about wood fire and pollution by using advanced burning technology that eliminates a huge amount of contaminants that used to always go up in smoke.
How burning wood causes pollution
Wood-fire pollution is pretty simple to understand. Gasses are emitted by burning wood. When these gasses aren’t combusted, they rise up the chimney or the stovepipe and out into the air. However, when the proper burning environment is achieved, these gasses can be almost completely burned up.
The Environmental Protection Agency is concerned about wood adding pollution to the atmosphere. That’s why it has approved specific new wood-stove technology that allows fires to burn in chambers with heats over 600 degrees Celsius, which is a burn environment that optimally combusts wood gasses.
Wood stoves that are certified as “clean-burning” by the EPA must meet certain standards in testing – standards that are regularly tightened by the protection agency as new technology continually advances the wood stove’s ability to prevent smoke gasses from escaping the burn area.
Do you have an EPA-certified wood stove?
If you’re running a stove built before 1988, you likely have a burning system that was not designed to meet “modern” regulations. Even stoves made in the initial years after 1988 – which is when EPA performance-standard regulations came into play – won’t have the same high-efficiency of those new to the market in the last 10 or so years.
But it’s not only the pollution factor that is causing more and more homeowners to upgrade their wood stoves to better models. Along with becoming more effective in their combustion capacity, modern wood stoves also are better at producing heat and are built with cutting-edge safety technology.
A handsome wood stove can be a wonderful addition to virtually any home, which is another great thing about today’s designs. Stoves are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and finishes to make a perfect match with a home’s décor while bringing the specific performance necessary for the space in which it’s located.
Wood stoves come in two varieties: catalytic and non-catalytic. Catalytic stoves channel smoke into a ceramic, honeycomb-like device that burns particulate matter and gasses. Non-catalytic stoves feature technology that makes for a longer flow path for smoke, allowing more of it to be efficiently burned.
Ask your hearth retailer about the two styles of wood stoves to determine which would be best for your needs. If you have an older stove and think now is a good time for an upgrade, the experts at Burlington Fireplace & Solar of Wisconsin can point you toward an amazing selection of excellent wood stoves that will be great for the environment and great for you.
Visit us at 857 Milwaukee Ave. in Burlington, Wis. Reach us by phone at (262) 763-3522.