-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SATURDAY, Feb. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Although many people
use indoor and outdoor wood heaters to save money on fuel costs,
burning wood to stay warm during the cold winter months might not
be cost-efficient, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection
The agency also cautioned that smoke from older wood stoves
might pose a serious health threat by increasing air pollution from
soot and toxic pollutants. Soot, also known as fine particle
pollution, has been linked to a number of health problems,
including heart attacks, strokes and asthma.
The EPA explained in an agency news release that old,
uncertified wood stoves give off more air pollution than pellet or
gas heaters. In addition, updated EPA-certified wood stoves use
one-third less wood than older models and produce up to 60 percent
less air pollution while generating the same amount of heat.
EPA experts also said most hydronic heaters, which usually burn
wood outside a home to heat water that is piped inside, are less
efficient than other home-heating appliances. Some of these heaters
might also produce an excessive amount of smoke, which can
negatively affect neighbors.
The EPA established a program in which manufacturers can
voluntarily make cleaner versions of hydronic heaters. The newer
models resulting from this program are roughly 90 percent cleaner
than older appliances.
There are about 10 million wood stoves and more than 240,000
hydronic heaters in the United States, the EPA said in the news
release. The agency is encouraging change-out programs that would
assist consumers in trading in their old, inefficient wood-burning
appliances for newer models.
The EPA also issued a proposal to update standards for new wood
stoves and heaters. Under these revised guidelines, the next
generation of appliances would be an estimated 80 percent cleaner
than the models currently being made.
A public hearing is scheduled to take place on Feb. 26 in
Boston. The EPA said it hopes to get the public's input on its
In order to burn wood more safely and efficiently, the EPA also
provided the following tips:
The U.S. Fire Administration offers more tips for
fireplace and home fire safety.
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