Sitting in front of a warm, crackling fireplace on a cold winter night is something we all enjoy, but it comes at a cost. Burning wood emits more pollution in the air than other heating devices and the smoke contains harmful and toxic pollutants. According to the Sierra Club, burning wood releases 75 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than using a natural gas furnace.
Cars and trucks get most of the attention when it comes to air pollution but wood smoke is just as bad for our environment, contributing to smog, acid rain and other problems. Let’s keep our bluebird ski days! Along with the environmental impact, there is a significant health issue that comes from burning wood. The EPA warns that those with heart or respiratory issues should avoid wood smoke if possible.
If you are still burning wood to heat your home, the state wants you to take a look at a program that will make a big difference in our air quality. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality developed a Wood Stove Conversion Assistance Program that is intended to incentivize residents to convert their fireplace or wood stove into a natural gas or propane device. Qualified households can receive grants to pay for the conversion from wood to these other, cleaner options. Please visit stoves.utah.gov for more information and as always, let’s find ways to make our community a cleaner, greener place to live, play and work.