Heating your home is something that is essential for everyday living and has become a routine and taken for granted part of living in the comfort of the modern world. However, after many years of living with the convenience albeit increasing expense of a gas fire, I heard about wood burning alternatives, that are not only much healthier for the environment, but also much cheaper to operate too.
At first I thought that it sounded too good to be true, how can chopping down perfectly healthy trees to heat your home possibly be good for the planet? But I was challenged by this notion, when I first read that it is actually a carbon neutral practice. It is classified as “carbon neutral” since you can replant as many trees as you burn. In addition, every year tonnes of wood waste is generated by the construction industry, which can be recycled to form wood pellets instead of going to landfills.
Even better, but for the last few years there has been a federal grant called the Biomass Tax Credit for Stoves, meaning for qualifying stoves you can receive a $300 tax credit. Check out this page more information on this.
What are the Facts?
When compared to traditional gas and electric fireplaces, wood burning stoves are much cheaper to run. As you probably know gas fires and stoves are powered by gas pipes fed into your home from utility companies that are often expensive when compared to wood.
There is a myth that wood stoves produce a lot of harmful and toxic fumes, which used to be true. In fact, before the 1990’s most stoves would burn wood very inefficiently, leading to fuel wastage and outdoor air pollution. But thanks to the EPA this is no longer the case. Today EPA certified stoves are as much as 50% more energy efficient than older, uncertified models and can use 1/3 less wood fuel for the same heat.
In addition, to the efficiency progress that’s been made, there are also a variety of positive environmental impacts that make stoves worth considering. These include the following:
- A reduction in both internal and external smoke pollution, including carbon dioxide and methane.
- Another huge positive are the health benefits that newer stoves have compared to older models, including polluting smokes that have been linked to diseases such as asthma.
Choose the Correct Wood
Modern wood burning appliances produce greater heat, meaning you don’t have to use as much fuel and less smoke is produced. However, you shouldn’t just use any type of wood, as some are unsuitable as they don’t burn well. First things first, you need to ensure the wood is dry, you can use a moisture meter to test the amount of moisture present. Adequately dried wood should have a level of water at around 20%.
The best type of woods to use are hardwoods including Ash and Beech, this is because these woods are more dense and contain much more energy and as a result burn for longer and slower. In order to gain a full insight into the best types of wood to burn in your home, in terms of efficiency, this is a great guide.
After years of relying on energy companies to supply me and my loved ones with a warm home, I can understand how difficult it can be to consider different options, but in the long term it will be well worth it. Stoves that burn biomass are better for your wallet and the environment, since wood sources such as trees can be replanted and made again, yet dirty fossil fuels such as gas and oil continue to put our oceans and fish stocks at risk.
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