Thursday, January 3, 2013

Air Time: Smoking Doesn't Make Cents

By Rod Tinnemore, Wood Stove Coordinator, Air Quality Program

The goal of every wood stove operator is to turn fuel into heat. For some, wood heat is an optional preference. If that’s you, please choose a heating option that is far less polluting, such as a natural gas furnace or a heat pump. For others, however, heating with wood is an economic necessity. No matter what your situation, a smoky stove costs you extra dollars and time.

Every piece of wood contains energy that can be released through burning. If your wood is too wet, your stove spends some of that energy to evaporate the water. Energy spent this way is energy lost for heating your home. You get less heat from wet wood than from dry wood. Less heat also means it takes more wood to keep warm. That means more chopping, more hauling. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about it!

It also wastes your money if you give too little air to the flame in your stove. You stove will not give you an efficient burn unless it’s operating as designed, with enough air to burn both the wood and most of the smoke. Even if you have a low cost source of wood, your extra efforts to stoke a smoky stove means time lost for doing other things you enjoy and prefer. When you see a smoky chimney, you might as well envision dollar signs flying into the air.

If you want to learn how to get the most heat for your money and keep the air cleaner,  watch this educational video or ask your local hearth products professional to show you how to run a clean burning stove. It only takes a few seconds to glance at your chimney to see if you’re doing the job right.

Remember, smoking doesn’t make cents.

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