Pollution-Free Wood Burning Is Possible
Wood burning fireplaces and wood stoves forWest Denver Metro and Front Range area, including Golden, Morrison, Evergreen, Englewood, Lakewood, Golden, Elizabeth, and all of Jefferson County, Denver County, Summit County, and more.
Wood-burning in modern fireplaces and wood stoves is a great way to supplement heating in winter. There is a big problem, however, which has been addressed with various regulations in Colorado. Outdated appliances can release dangerous wood smoke into the air. There are more than 100 chemical compounds in combustion byproducts, and many are harmful. Some are potentially carcinogenic. Pollutants in wood smoke can pose health risks for many people, between fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and others. In spite of these facts, burning wood without contributing to air pollution is possible.
What Causes Burning Problems?
Fires produce gases. Inefficient wood-burning systems do not cause the smoke and gas to combust into flames, which results in air pollution. The black and blue smoke that pours into the sky can cause respiratory problems. The landscape in places like Colorado can exacerbate the situation. This is a description of what often happens to increase the danger of wood smoke in the air caused by incomplete combustion:
- The first element to keep in mind is that the winter sun, though low on the horizon, doesn’t supply much warmth to the surface of the Earth.
- Warm air over a region with mountains and valleys can act like a lid that holds cold air near the ground, when winds are calm.
- The pollution created by cars and inefficient wood fires becomes trapped by the inversion.
- The strength of valley inversions can be increased by the presence of nearyby mountains.
These conditions can result in a hazy sky that reduces visibility and obscures scenic views.
Stricter EPA Standards
Since the 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been tightening restrictions on wood-burning appliances. The emissions standards for wood stoves have been gradually reducing the amount of fine particulate matter that can be released. It was no more than 7.5 grams in 2014, and currently the requirement is no more than 4.5 grams per hour. The proposal is to again tighten the standards to 1.3 grams per hour by 2019.
Efficient Design Reduces Emissions
Appliances that meet EPA standards do a much better job of protecting the environment than older models. One type is a fireplace insert. These are custom-made to fit inside an existing masonry or pre-fab fireplace. A fireplace insert converts a fireplace into a high-efficiency heating unit comparable to a wood stove. Professional installation is essential. Components of installation that ensure safety and efficiency include insulating materials that fill gaps between the insert and the fireplace mouth. Another is to ensure that the chimney liner is the right fit for the appliance. It is often necessary to have a new flu lining installed.
Catalytic wood stoves and non-catalytic wood stoves have components that burn combustible gases along with particulate matter before they can be released into the atmosphere through the chimney.
Masonry heaters are also widely known as Finnish, Siberian, or Russian fireplaces. These appliances are excellent heat sources and produce less pollution than any other type of wood-burning or pellet-burning heating appliance.
Appliances fueled by pellets are right up there with masonry heaters, efficiency-wise. In fact, top models have been dubbed smokeless appliances that require no regulation.
For a completely pollution-free wood-burning appliance, masonry heaters and pellet appliances are perfect options. Any solid fuel appliance that meets current EPA standards is also a great choice for anyone who wants to burn wood and go green.
Visit our massive showroom at 26731 Main Street in Conifer, Colorado, or give us a call at (303) 838-3612. We have a showroom that is fully stocked and includes many appliances that are fully set up and in operation. See firsthand the many option in eco-friendly heating for your home.