How to Reduce Pollution by Using a Certain Firewood

Anyone who has ever been camping has observed firsthand how different types of wood emit various amounts, smells, and colors of smoke circling into the atmosphere. In your home fireplace, this principle remains true. Not all firewood burns the same. In fact, some firewoods are harmful to your local air quality. Is the firewood you are using contributing to your neighborhood’s air pollution? How do you know? What is the best firewood to use for air pollution reduction?

The Primary Antagonist: Particulate Matter

Particulate matter is a concoction of microscopic particles that are thrust into the air by pollutive smoke. When this matter is inhaled, it can cause damage to the lungs of any living being. Particulate matter is linked to various long-term lung ailments, such as lung cancer, respiratory illness, and even death. Burning wood that minimizes air pollution can reduce these health risks in your home and neighborhood.

The Best Firewood for Pollution Reduction 

When speaking of pollution, it may be surprising to learn that the species of wood is not as important as the current condition of the wood. The most important factor is how dry the wood is. In general, the best amount of moisture in a piece of firewood is 20% or less. The wetter the wood, the more pollutants it emits into the air. The challenge lies in determining the moisture level of the wood, as logs that seem dry can still be holding up to 50% moisture. For this, a wood moisture meter may come in handy, which can often be found from various sellers for less than 30 dollars.

To avoid using self-chopped wood that is holding more than 20% moisture, the best method is to chop the wood and let it sit in a dry area for around 6 months or until the wood drops to the moisture percentage desired. This requires much planning in advance, and the best way to go about it is to create an annual routine to prepare wood for the cold months 6 months beforehand. Once you have wood dry enough to burn, you should see minimal smoke emitting from your chimney, and in its place should be transparent heat waves. When you see these heat waves, take a big, deep breath of that fresh air. Transparent heat waves instead of smoke prove that your fireplace is burning cleanly into your neighborhood’s atmosphere.

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