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Being Human


by Tim Wiggins
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Using the Wood Stoves Safely For Your Health

Wood stoves are often used in most homes today to bring warmth and comfort. We warm up and enjoy the as the flames grow as if it is dancing. What we don't know is that out-of-date and unmaintained wood stoves pollutes our indoors and outdoors, specifically the air that e breathe. Old wood burning stoves, even how elegant it is, can produce more dangerous particulates in our air, and don't seem to notice. These wood burning stoves might have been with us for many years but could have not passed the EPA's standards.

Wood burning stoves are responsible for the pollution during our winter time. Many homes are up to using wood stoves during winter and most of these wood stoves produce air particulates that endanger our health. We are indeed at risk as we enjoy the heat of our fireplaces. Some of the health threats among others are headaches, coughing, irritation of the nose, eyes and ears, irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, respiratory problems and might make it hard for someone to breath and might trigger asthma.

Wood burning stoves, without clearances, produces tons of harmful particulate matter emissions per day especially during winter times where most homes are using their wood stoves. Pollution from the smoke of wood burning stoves contain very small particles and can be inhaled and cause a bundle of respiratory health problems. With continuing and enduring contact and exposure to particulate matters it can lead to reduced lung function and chronic bronchitis and even premature death at certain cases. Smoke for wood burning stoves may also cause low concentrations for some people.

The best way to decrease exposure to health risk is to avoid burning wood or using your wood stoves, which I think is very difficult to many especially to those who have attachments to their wood stoves. The cozy fire has been part of the everyday life. If you have one already, have it checked for EPA clearance. In buying one, check certification of EPA since this will have lower emissions of particulate matters and other pollutants. EPA certified wood burning stoves emit up to 90% fewer emissions as compared to other fireplaces.

If you live in a neighborhood where mostly used wood stoves, you can try closing your windows and close up areas where drafts occur.

And when you are to burn wood in your wood stoves, use only clean and dry wood. Make sure that you dry your wood before using it. Dry wood will create less soot and creosote buildup. Split the wood into pieces and build small fires. Make sure that there is proper air circulation within the stove for efficient wood burning. See what fire you are creating - meaning see if it really heat that it's creating of just smoke.

You can also burn smart by installing a carbon monoxide detector near the wood burning stoves in your homes. Carbon monoxide detector will enable to detect or know unnecessary substances in your homes especially in the smoke produced in the stoves. It will alert you to prevent dizziness or fainting.

You could always enjoy the heat of the stoves and breathe clean air at the same time. You just have to learn how to use your wood stoves for a healthier and safer air.