Special to the Tribune/Advisor
Winter is closing in around the Cariboo. Many of us have been busy getting wood in for the coming cold months and know we’ll be able to cope with the dark if we’re huddled around our cozy wood stoves. There’s nothing quite like wood heat, and while we’re grateful for it, there are also a few things to keep in mind to make sure our coziness isn’t compromising our air quality.
Many people don’t realize that smoke from wood stoves contributes to air pollution in their neighbourhood. It especially affects the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory or heart conditions. During colder months in fact, smoke from wood fires is a leading cause of neighborhood particulate matter pollution, one of the leading air pollution concerns in B.C.
The problem is exasperated when this smoke and other pollutants are trapped under a warm layer of air known as an inversion layer. When the air is cold and still, temperature inversions trap wood smoke and other pollutants close to the ground.
For those of us who love wood heat there are a few simple steps we can take to ensure we’re burning efficiently and not smoking out the neighbours:
1.) Check your chimney — make sure your fire is getting enough air and drawing properly. Add wood gradually to the fire with the air inlet open whenever starting a fire or adding more wood.
2.) Burn dry wood! This will make it easier for you and on the air. Dry wood burns hotter and more easily.
3.) Store your wood outside in a place where it can stay dry. If covering with a tarp, leave the sides of the stack open so the wood can continue to dry out.
4.) Check your appliance. Creosote builds up from wood burning, especially if burning inefficiently. Make sure to give your chimney a good clean to keep your house safe from chimney fires.
For these tips and more, visit www.breatheasywilliamslake.org.