Burrr - Time for the Wood Burning Stove or Fireplace!
by Garwood Police Department on 12/12/16
With colder weather and the holidays approaching, the Department of Environmental Protection reminds residents to practice safety and take steps to reduce the impact burning wood has on air quality in their homes and neighborhoods.
"Burning wood whether in fireplaces, wood burning stoves or outdoor boilers, can help reduce energy costs and add cozy ambience to any home as the weather turns colder" according to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, "but burning wood can also produce small particles and other pollutants that can be significantly reduced with some common-sense practices, better protecting your health as well as your neighbors' and creating a climate for a safer, more enjoyable season."
For some people, even short-term exposure to wood smoke can aggravate heart or lung conditions. Children, teen agers, older adults and people with lung disease such as Asthma, COPD or heat disease are more susceptible to the effects of wood smoke
The DEP recommends the following these guidelines when burning wood at home.
- Burn only seasoned wood. Seasoning means allowing wood to sit outdoors for at least 6 months before burning it. This allows the moisture to evaporate and burn more efficiently. Seasoned wood is darker and has cracks in it. It sounds hollow when hit with an object. Wood burns most efficiently when the moisture content is below 20 percent.
- Stack cut wood off the ground and cover the top with a tarp to protect from rain & snow. Keep stacked wood away from the house or fire pit to avoid insects or sparks from igniting the stack.
- Start fires with newspaper and kindling. Keep fire hot and remove ashes to allow for airflow.
- Never burn garbage, plastic, wrapping material, painted or treated wood in your fireplace.
- Keep all flammable items away from your fireplace and keep a charges fire extinguisher near by in case of emergency.
- Have chimneys cleaned regularly by a certified chimney sweep. Nearly 7% of house fires are caused by the build up of creosote in the chimney. Signs of a chimney fire are flames coming out the top of the chimney or the sound of a freight train coming from the chimney.
- Consider using a HEPA filters in the same room as the fireplace. This can reduce indoor particle pollution by as much as 60%.
- State and some municipal regulations may prohibit visible smoke being emitted from a wood stove or boiler. Check with your local authority.
For more information on wood burning in New Jersey, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/baqp/woodburning.html
For more on the EPA’s Burnwise program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/