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Earth Gauge Tip of the Week: Burn Wisely

| 1/9/2014 11:22:00 AM

With frigid temperatures gripping many parts of the U.S., some people are turning to fireplaces and wood-burning stoves for warmth. It may smell good, but wood smoke can impact indoor air quality and your health. Smoke is a mixture of tiny particles and gases produced when wood burns – the fine particles can get into your eyes and lungs, where they may aggravate some health conditions like lung disease, bronchitis and asthma.

Use these “best burn practices” at home to minimize wood smoke and protect your health:Before you burn, make sure your chimney is clean. A clean chimney provides a good draft and reduces the risk of a chimney fire:

Have your chimney inspected by a professional at least once per year and regularly clean ashes from your fireplace or wood-burning stove to increase efficiency.

Only use seasoned wood for burning. Seasoned wood looks darker, has cracks in the ends and sounds hollow if smacked against another piece of wood.

Use newspaper and dry kindling to start a fire. Never use gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter or propane.

Build hot fires, which are more safe and efficient than smoldering fires.

Jeremy D'Herville
1/10/2014 7:39:45 PM

Got it. No coal, no natural gas. I'll insulate well, keep my clean wood burner, off-grid solar, small scale hydro, wind generator and my diesel generator. Imagine the steel we could save from less power pylons.

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