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Burning Wood: Pollution-Reducing Tips

Here are some key efficiency tips:

  • Weatherization of your home is a great place to improve heating efficiency; drafts can waste 5-30% of your home heating energy, learn more about sealing/insulating and other improvement ideas
  • If using wood
    • Use well seasoned dry wood with 20% moisture burns most efficiently and results in less creosote
    • Hardwood burns the best; never burn treated wood
    • Use sustainably harvested wood to reduce your carbon footprint
    • Learn more about safe and efficient wood burning here.
  • For gas and oil furnaces following the recommended maintenance schedules will ensure proper operation, while other improvements could improve efficiency

For those who can consider changing their current home heating system here are some facts:

  • Newer EPA certified wood burning stoves – are 50% more efficient, use 1/3 less wood for the same heat, and reduce particulate pollution by up to 70%.
  • EPA ENERGY STAR qualified oil and gas furnaces are up to 15% more efficient than standard models and have highly efficient blower motors.

Eliminating home inefficient heating sources that cost you extra money and cause unwanted air pollution is one important step to assuring that New Hampshire’s children and adults breathe healthy air.

Green Fire Logs
Clearing the Air: Heat with Wood

Georgia Murray is a scientist mom working to connect people and science through Mountain Watch, a citizen-science program that focuses on outdoor activities related to air quality and climate. She oversees the air and water quality science and policy work for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), a non-profit organization that’s mission is to promote the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region. She has a Masters in Earth Science from UNH and lives with her family in Conway, NH.

Read more: Environment, Home, Household Hints, Nature, Nature & Wildlife

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Moms Clean Air Force

Moms Clean Air Forceis a community of moms, dads and others fighting for clean air and the health of future generations. Follow them on Twitter @ MomsCAF.


+ add your own
9:21AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

Interesting. Thanks.

8:32AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

thank you

3:21AM PST on Feb 9, 2012


12:02PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Great tips. We just moved into a home with a wood burning fireplace and this is really good info.

7:30AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

THanks I was hoping for a little more info on how to possibly scrub the particals. Cindy B. there are things called moisture meters for checking the moisture in wood. it is mostly used by furnature builders and not wood burners. The moisture content will depend on so many factors. Split wood is drier than smaller round logs if they are cut at the same time. IN most places wood needs to season about a year to properly dry.

10:15PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Actually I was hoping to find some tips on, like, how hot the fire should be, or whether or not a screen should be used.... (etc.) These tips are just kinda common sense, except the one about the 20% moisture in the wood... but how the heck are ya gonna know the moisture content?

I don't want to burn wood but I am very, very broke right now and simply cannot pay the heating bills... so, yes, I will burn wood. For now. I keep the house around 58 degrees anyway. I know wood-burning is a huge problem, causing significant pollution and respiratory problems in some communities; and I really don't want to be contributing to that if I don't have to.

1:40PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Here's a suggestion: unless you are forced to (i.e. freezing and have no other means of keeping warm) don't burn wood! People may not realize it, but you are not only putting your own health at risk, the smoke can cause your neighbors to have an asthma attack. So you could actually be endangering someone's life right now. Please, think carefully before you do things, because everything you do affects all the people and creatures around you, not just you.

12:08PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Great information.

9:03AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Thanks for the good info.

6:38AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Good information. Thank you for sharing!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I am definitely spoiled by all the bountiful produce of summer and fall. Especially the fresh fruit…

Cannot stop catalogs, I tried- recycle them.

This sounds just a bit too new agey for me, sorry.

All good. Thank you.


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