by Air Quality Program, wood stove coordinator
People use fire as part of nearly every culture. Burning wood to cook food is still vital for much of the world’s population today. Unfortunately, bringing some ancient but unaltered practices into the modern, and often urban, world may not be safe or wise.
The issues related to residential wood burning are as complex as our modern world. In my blog posts, I will explore wood burning issues and perhaps broaden your perceptions. You’ll also learn to decipher some of the more common jargon from both industry and regulators. Along the way I hope you’ll discover why Washington State leads the nation in standards for wood burning devices, but why we still have wood smoke problems and concerns.
I write as both a scientist and wood stove owner. Through the years, I’ve owned and operated pellet stoves, wood stove inserts, catalytic stoves, non-catalytic stoves and fireplaces. (You’ll learn the meaning of these terms as we explore wood burning devices). I’ve made the often stumbling transition from a clueless owner to a careful stove operator. Even though I have an advanced degree is forest resources, the bulk of what I share with you is from my daily interactions with manufacturers, testing labs, retailers and regulators across North America, as well as my own experience.
If you are among the clueless, this is your chance to gently learn more about the issues related to heating with wood. I’m going to assume you care about both a healthy home and a healthy environment, and about making these available to future generations. With that in mind, my next post will set the stage for understanding why wood smoke matters.
For more information, see Wood Stoves, Fireplaces, Pellet Stoves and Masonry Heaters