Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

December 17, 2012

Burn smarter

EPA offers tips for those who heat with wood

An estimated 12 million Americans heat their homes with wood, and most of them could burn a more efficient and cleaner fire by following a few tips from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 Wood smoke is made up of a mixture of gases and fine particle pollution that isn’t healthy to breathe indoors or out — especially for children, older adults and those with heart and lung disease, and asthma. Reducing smoke from your chimney can be easy.

• Upgrade to an EPA-certified wood stove or fireplace insert. These models are more efficient than older models, making your air cleaner, your home safer, and your fuel bill lower, while keeping you warm in the winter.

• Burn only dry, seasoned, dry firewood can add up to a significant cost savings. Look for wood that is darker, has cracks in the end grain, and sounds hollow when it is hit against another piece of wood.

• Have a certified professional inspect and service your wood stove or fireplace annually.  A certified technician can clean dangerous soot from your chimney and keep your wood stove or fireplace working properly, which reduces your risk of a home fire.

• Consider converting your open wood-burning fireplace to a more efficient, less-polluting appliance by installing a wood stove insert or gas appliance.  Wood-burning fireplaces do not burn as cleanly as EPA-certified wood stoves.

To learn more, check out the EPA website for “Burn Wise,” a program that emphasizes the importance of burning the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance to protect your home. Visit www.epa.gov/burnwise.

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