Who is to Blame for Particulate Matter in the Air?

The amount of particulate matter or PM continues to rise especially in developed countries all around the world and some believe that one of the major contributors to this alarming number is the persistence of the use of outdoor wood furnaces. One of the most popular and very significant questions is the contribution of outdoor wood furnaces in the overall particulate matter in air. Is this kind of heating system causing a lot of pollution and harm in the environment?

  • At present, there are 16 million fireplaces in use in the United States and these outdoor fireplaces and furnaces are not regulated by the EPA. Therefore if you have an existing stove and you are unsure about the safety of your wood burning stove.
  • There are 10 million indoor wood stoves according to EPA, and 75-80 percent of them are not EPA certified and are exempt from emissions regulation.
  • There are millions more wood burning appliances including indoor wood furnaces, recreational wood burning devices and other unregulated wood burning appliances, such as barrel stoves. There are approximately 200,000 outdoor wood furnaces in use, which is less than 1 percent of the wood burning appliances being used in the U.S.
  • A comparison of all wood burning appliances regarding their particulate emissions were conducted and the comparison has revealed that when you compare the emission of wood burning appliances to industrial emission sources such as wood, outdoor wood burning stoves are only a very small fraction of total PM emissions.

So what do all these mean? All these pieces of information tell us that wood burning stoves and furnaces are technically safe and are not the main contributors of particulate matter in the air. Now that there are new regulations on the manufacturer and the use of outdoor wood burning stoves, it is a must that homeowners choose wood burning appliances that are EPA regulated. It is also important to follow safe practices in the use and the maintenance of these appliances.

EPA works together with other agencies in creating the most ideal wood burning stove and furnaces for your individual needs. Almost everything that a homeowner needs is considered with the priority of looking for the ideal stove settings, parts and requirements. There are a lot of resources that await you online and one of these are learning materials like downloadable guides are available at the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/

And a part of selecting the ideal stove is following strict guidelines on how to use wood burning stoves. This begins from using treated wood, how to treat wood and how to create a suitable fire. You should also acquaint yourself with the best burning practices.

The EPA also provides this learning material from their site; you may also send this online information online to friends. Using wood burning stoves and furnaces is one of the most cost-effective ways to provide ample heat and hot water in your home. Ensuring that you use this appliance under its operating instructions will certainly help you reduce the particulate material in your surroundings.

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