This letter is in response to the article in the last paper entitled ‘Woodstove exchange targets cleaner options.” There is a very simple solution to obtain clean wood burning. The answer comes from time immemorial the way that wood was meant to be burned – always burn hot, don’t use a damper, or a thermostat.
At home we have a large forced-air, thermostat-controlled, wood-burning furnace. We also have a fireplace and an old cook stove. We disable the furnace thermostat by keeping it set at 30 degrees for the whole winter. Wood is burned until the temperature reaches about 20 degrees, then allowed to go out by itself.
This means lighting the furnace every day, and sometimes twice a day. On cold winter mornings the house gets pretty chilly and it’s time for sweaters. It takes a while to heat a 4,000 sq. foot house.
The benefits of this type of sensible burning is overwhelming. My wife has bad asthma, and the air has to be very clean. There is no smoke in the house, or invisible particles that cause allergies. You also get better economic value for your wood with no wasted heat being produced. And what’s more you don’t even have to clean your chimney; there is no creosote.
In conclusion I think that the village is wasting a lot of money exchanging perfectly good wood-burning stoves to satisfy our over-indulgent creature comforts, at the expense of the environment and our health.