Avoid Wood Burning Stoves to Keep Your Home Free of Harmful Pollutants

October 31, 2017 6:24 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As the premier provider of smoke damage remediation in Basalt, CO, HealthSafe Inspections Inc. sees many clients each year who have suffered extensive smoke damage after using wood burning stoves over the winter. These types of stoves are understandably cherished for their comfort, wonderful smell and roots that reach far back in our history. But nowadays, we know more about the details of wood burning devices, and unfortunately, we have some bad news—they can have terrible consequences for your health and safety, and even for the environment around you.

Wood has damaging chemicals

Whether you use wood as your primary means of heating the home, or just enjoy a fire from time to time in your fireplace, you should understand the risks involved. The smoke that wood produces actually has many harmful chemical compounds—up to 100 different types, by some measurements—including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, dioxins, furans and fine particulates.

That last side effect, fine particulates, refers to the tiny little particles that are released from wood in the form of soot or smoke. They are miniscule, only a fraction of the diameter of the average human hair, which means they can easily be inhaled every time you draw breath. They then settle in the lungs, where they group together in the tiny crevices where oxygen enters the bloodstream. This leads to difficulty breathing and can even result in permanent lung damage.

Common symptoms of damaging smoke inhalation can include headaches, allergic reactions, painful or irritated eyes and lungs and ,in some cases, further respiratory issues such as bronchitis, asthma and emphysema.

Winter makes it worse

Wood burning devices are particularly harmful during the winter, due to the stagnant quality of the air during the season. The cold air also suppresses the ability of smoke to rise and disperse, which means all the harmful pollutants and particles remain trapped near the ground where they can creep into homes through doors and windows—even when they are closed.

On top of the negative health effects, smoke during the winter is also unsightly. Since it is trapped near the ground, it gathers into a haze that obscures the scenery around it.

How you can help

It’s understandable to want to have a cozy fire or keep your house warm with wood, but if you choose to continue using these devices, be sure to take your own safety and the safety of the environment into account.

One of the main reasons that many wood burning stoves and fireplaces release smoke is because they are experiencing incomplete combustion. This can often be due to an inefficient wood burning device. Invest in a modern, clean-burning stove in order to cut down on harmful emissions. Check to make sure your stove is EPA-certified and designed to provide complete combustion, rather than incomplete. If you have an older wood stove, it’s in your best interest to replace it as soon as you can.

If your home has experienced damage from harmful smoke, be sure to call HealthSafe Inspections Inc. We’ll help you determine the best approach for completing smoke damage remediation in Basalt, CO.

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