Today, we have a number of environmental groups concerned over the effects wood burning has on the atmosphere. Keep in mind that wood, as well as any type of material used for fuel to heat a home will have an affect on the environment when burned. Now, we all know that campfires, wood stoves, and fireplaces are not going away but the key is to burn wood the right way.
You would be amazed at how few people really understand the proper way of burning wood, which if not done right, will have significant impact on outdoor air quality, as well as indoor air quality. The problem is that if wood is not burned correctly, it will smolder, producing blue/gray smoke. If you want to enjoy your wood burning stove or fireplace but would like to do your part in protecting the environment, you can.
For starters, we recommend you consider your current fireplace. Many of the older designs are bad at producing air pollution. One option would be to replace your old fireplace with a newer design that is made to burn clean. These fireplaces and stoves are actually CSA certified, meaning they must meet strict standards set forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. To burn clean, the stove or fireplace greatly reduces smoke emissions. In fact, depending on the type of appliance you choose, this reduction can be as much as 90%.
Another option is to make sure the stove or fireplace you have is the right size. Interestingly, many people will have the wrong size appliance, which burns more fuel than needed to heat the home efficiently. For this, you can meet with a professional in the business to determine what size wood burning stove or fireplace you need. Of course, if you only want to heat one or two rooms rather than an entire home, this would be a consideration too.
The chimney is also an important part of the picture. This means going with a modern type chimney, which is designed specifically for the type of stove or fireplace you have. Then, do all you can to avoid smoldering, which is a huge problem on the environment. For this, you can use clean burn techniques that actually help prevent smoldering smoke. With this, you can reduce the amount of smoke produced by as much as 50%.
When purchasing wood, you want to make sure you choose the right type of wood and wood that is ready to burn. This means going with seasoned wood that is dry and clean. What you want to avoid is green wood, which is still moist and green on the inside, causing significant smoke. Additionally, when you have the wood split, have it split so the pieces are appropriate for your specific stove or fireplace.
Finally, you need to make sure your home itself is energy efficient. Obviously, having tightly sealed garage doors, windows, and sealing off other leaks will mean that your fireplace or stove can work more efficiently and effectively. You may need to walk around the home to determine areas of air leakage or again, hire a professional to come in and conduct testing - your environment will thank you.