Fireplace wood contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides that cause smog, fine particles, soot and a host of gases and chemicals which may result in or complicate health problems, especially in children, pregnant women and individuals with respiratory problems living in the home. As for the environment, burning wood in your home may contribute to acid rain and smog.
During the cold winter months, it is still possible to heat up your home without leaving a carbon footprint in the process. Instead of burning wood in your fireplace, you may opt for wood pellets manufactured from sawdust and other byproducts of lumber as a more eco friendly solution. This is because these byproducts would otherwise have ended up as waste in landfills. These small logs are specifically formulated for very efficient burning – almost completely, mainly because of their low moisture content, which means that fewer pollutants will be released into the air both inside and outside the home.
In order to safely handle the wood pellets, you will require a pellet stove or a fireplace insert when burning. This insert fires the pellets using an igniter. It also has a blower which fans the fire and an augur that pours pellets onto the flames to keep the fire burning as long as you require. This set up eliminates the need to keep on opening your stove doors to feed the fire, which means that fewer pollutants are released into your living room area.
Alternately, you may also reduce carbon emissions from your fireplace by opting for a gas insert which burns either liquid propane from a swappable tank or piped-in natural gas. The inserts will draw air in to oxygenate the fire, while channeling the smoke outside either through a vent or up your chimney. You should note that hearth fires are unable to heat up large spaces as effectively as the free-standing wood, gas or pellet stoves.
Be sure to have your fireplace regularly inspected for leaks, cracks or back drafts which could have resulted in added pollution to your home. Have your chimney swept every couple of years to remove any blockages due to creosote which could increase indoor pollution of the air in your home. When installing a new fireplace or insert, consult a qualified professional to ensure that they set it up properly in the most eco friendly and efficient manner. Whatever fireplace fuel option you settle for, the health of your family and the safety of the environment should factor primarily in your decision making.