With cooler temperatures in Oregon, it is a perfect time to talk about woodstove smoke. If not used correctly, woodstoves can emit a lot of smoke, which is bad news for both the environment and your health.
Consider this: It only takes 20 of the older, non-certified woodstoves to emit more than 1 ton of fine particular pollution (called PM2.5) into the air. The problem gets bigger when you realize people burn more than 10 million woodstoves in just the United States.
Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses.
Fortunately, burning smart is fairly easy to do.
Learn more about the health impacts of woodstove smoke and simple tips you can take to burn smarter. Or watch a short video on the 4 steps to splitting and drying wood.
- Burn only wood. No garbage, plastics, rubber, paint or oil, briquettes, paper, etc. Burning these items releases harmful chemicals into the air.
- Build small, hot fires instead of large, smoldering ones.
- Don't "bed the fire down" for the night. Holding a fire overnight is a fire hazard and can create serious indoor and outdoor air pollution problems.
- Open your damper if the smoke is dark. Dark smoke indicates more pollution is being produced and fuel is being wasted.
- Keep your stove clean and well-maintained. Follow manufacturer guidelines; replace catalytic stove filters every 1-4 years. Have your chimney checked and cleaned at least once a year.