This summer, with heating bills expected to rise 20% from last year, many people will turn to wood heating in an attempt to save money; however, wood burning poses serious health concerns.
The American Lung Association has expressed concern about wood heating, especially for people with asthma and other pulmonary diseases.
Risk factors include the amount of wood burned, the equipment used for burning, carbon monoxide buildup, and poor ventilation.
Wood smoke can be just as dangerous as cigarette smoke. it typically emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, and other known carcinogens.
If you plan to burn wood this winter, make sure that your equipment is up-to-date and well-ventilated. Never burn treated wood or other materials, as they produce smoke that’s even more toxic. Use only seasoned firewood.
When I lived in an apartment with a fireplace, I placed my air cleaner near the fireplace to filter the smoke out of my living area. Certain smoke eater air purifiers are designed specifically to eliminate smoke.
Now, knowing what I know, I would not even use the fireplace (okay, maybe every once in a while to set the mood for a romantic evening). A safer option for supplemental heating would to use energy efficient space heaters.