wood burning

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

How Wood-Burning Affects Indoor Air Quality

How Wood-Burning Affects Indoor Air Quality

Wood burning for indoor heating has sure gotten a bad rap these last few years, and no wonder. Wood smoke is full of particulates that adversely affect the indoor air quality of a home, and that aggravate all kinds of respiratory problems, from allergies to bronchitis and asthma. It can even aggravate conditions leading to heart and lung failure.What's more, wood smoke is full of the carbon emissions that are contributing to the greenhouse effect; plus it creates a layer of smoke that can hover over cities in the winter time. Some municipalities have even had to ban the burning of wood to diminish the haze.Still, some people are mighty partial to having some kind of heating option in addition to their central HVAC system. Let's look at some choices that might not have as many potential problems as a wood-burning fireplace.

Other Heating Options

The majority of wood stoves sold have some of the same issues as wood-burning fireplaces. They give off carbon emissions and particulates that foul your IAQ, and are inefficient to use. However, a new generation of so-called catalytic stoves are a much better option. These stoves have a catalytic combustor that traps smoke and other combustion byproducts. A chemical coating in the combustor interacts with the smoke, igniting it at a much lower temperature than the 1100 degrees F that is normally required for wood stoves.The fact the ignition occurs at low temperature means the stove is more efficient, and that the amount of emissions given off is reduced. Wood also lasts much longer. These stoves do require maintenance to keep them clean so they continue to burn efficiently. Also, the parts can be expected to wear out within a decade or so.Non-catalytic stoves are easier to maintain, but release more emissions and have a higher burning rate so are less efficient.Pellet stoves are another option. They burn cleaner than non-catalytic wood stoves and fire places, but require some electricity to ignite the pellets.

For more on fire places and indoor air quality, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.