Wood Stove Tips

1. How to use a wood stove so it works well

2. Energy efficiency

3. Concerns for the environment

4. Health Effects

5. Wood Stove Safety











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The Healthy Wood Stove


Alison Howells
NB Lung Association
February 1998


n a cold winter night, the smell of wood smoke can evoke warm cozy memories. However appealing it may seem, wood smoke can also put numerous pollutants into both our indoor and outdoor air, especially if old inefficient stoves or poor wood burning techniques are employed.

woodstove / poêles à bois ==========
...a virtually smoke-free burn

The good news is that there is a great deal people can do to improve both their air quality and energy savings. That was the message of the New Brunswick Lung Association’s Healthy Wood Stove Campaign, which ran from September 3 to October 15, 1997.

The goals of the Campaign were two-fold. First, that wood smoke emissions can easily be reduced, and that both indoor and outdoor air quality improved by knowing how to properly run and maintain a wood stove. This included everything from knowing if your wood is properly seasoned, to learning how to build a hot, clean fire. Secondly, pollutants can also be reduced by purchasing an EPA-certified wood or pellet stove. The end result of using an EPA approved stove is a virtually smoke-free burn.

The main component of the Campaign involved a province-wide wood stove exchange program. A total of 112 old operating wood stoves were exchanged province-wide during the six-week initiative. The "exchange" provided consumers with an opportunity to trade-in their old inefficient wood stoves for a discount toward the purchase of a cleaner burning EPA certified wood or pellet stove. The Campaign involved wood stove retailers around the province. Consumers showed a keen interest in the Healthy Wood Stove Campaign, with over 900 of them calling the Lung Association’s toll-free 1-800 number for information.

The campaign also offered eleven free Moisture Testing Clinics and Wood Burning Demonstrations, whereby the public could have their fire wood tested to verify if the wood was sufficiently seasoned for burning. At these clinics, the wood stove user could gain tips on wood stove safety and proper seasoning of wood, as well as what they can and should not burn, how to start and maintain an efficient fire, and how to buy and stack fire wood.

"By learning about and using proper burning techniques or upgrading to an EPA certified wood stove, air quality can be vastly improved," says Kenneth Maybee, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Lung Association. "I was one of the first to exchange my wood stove for an EPA certified stove."

The Healthy Wood Stove Camapign was conducted with funding from Environment Canada’s Action 21 and in partnership with Wood Energy Technical Training - New Brunswick (WETT-NB), the Hearth Products Association of Canada (HPAC), the New Brunswick Home Builders’ Association (NBHBA), the Fire Marshall’s Office, and the Departments of Environment, and Natural Resources and Energy.