A wood stove, also known as a free-standing stove, serves as a heat source for many homes. The steel unit stands freely in the middle of a room and features a flue that vents directly out through the roof. Used for many years as a convenient way to heat a room or home, these stoves require a continuous source of wood to maintain the fire that provides heat. Wood stoves serve similar purposes as a fireplace, but there are some important differences. Specifically, older wood stoves can pose more health risks than open fireplaces, so replacing an outdated wood stove with an EPA-certified stove can drastically improve your quality of life.
How is my Wood Stove Dangerous?
Many people view wood stoves as more energy efficient than traditional fireplaces, because the stoves burn wood more slowly and produce comparable heat. The wood stoves burn wood more slowly due to the restricted air flow to the fire. When the wood burns with less air, the production of a compound called creosote increases. Creosote is a tar-like material composed of a variety of chemicals and has been known to cause serious health issues.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the danger of creosote includes a wide range of devastating health effects. Creosote can float through the air in the home when the wood stove burns, and this can result in issues such as eye damage, bronchitis, lung cancer and skin cancer. When creosote settles on food or food preparation areas, the compound can be ingested. This has been known to cause liver and kidney damage, chemical burns in the mouth and throat, convulsions and even death. Creosote also passes through the placenta of pregnant women and has caused birth defects such as a cleft palate.
All in all, creosote is a dangerous compound you don’t want in your home. Older wood stoves are less efficient and produce more creosote, so the EPA has revamped wood stove codes and recommends replacing your wood stove with a newer, safer model.
What is Different About the New Wood Stoves?
The risk involved with continuing to use an outdated wood stove in your home is impossible to ignore. By replacing your wood stove with a new, EPA-certified wood stove, you will receive a safer-burning unit that can even save you money.
Every EPA-certified wood stove burns cleaner than non-certified wood stoves. These new stoves utilize improved insulation and air flow, so the wood burns more thoroughly inside the unit, less creosote forms and the health risks drop dramatically. In a properly installed certified wood stove, significantly less smoke seeps into the home and the flue emissions are generally invisible, meaning they are cleaner.
EPA-certified wood stoves can also save you money compared to the cost of running your old stove. Expect to use up to one-third less wood in an updated stove. When the smoke from your old stove leaves your home with a black or gray color, that indicates wasted energy. In the new stoves, most of the particles that cause the smoke to have a color are burned instead to produce more energy and heat. For this reason, newer stoves produce almost no visible emissions.
How Can I Get a New Stove?
If you live in New Windsor, New York or the surrounding area, contact All Seasons Chimney for a professional consultation. Your new stove will also require regular inspections to ensure safety, which All Seasons Chimney can provide more information on.