When people think of a fire on the hearth, they think of burning wood, which is natural. Wood is the traditional fuel. It grows locally, is abundant in most areas and is one of our few renewable sources of energy. For many, nothing beats the warmth and beauty of a true wood fire.
Burning wood also makes great sense from an environmental standpoint. As concern about global warming and greenhouse gases increases, so does the attraction of using renewable biomass for energy. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, replenishing the atmosphere. Most firewood comes from harvesting dead trees. Unlike fossil fuels, there is no net carbon contribution when burning wood, as those same gases are given off when the tree decomposes in nature.
Burning wood has become less polluting and more efficient over the past decade. Sophisticated new designs have doubled the energy efficiency of stoves. Even better, the amount of smoke emitted by woodstoves has been reduced by an average of 90 percent. Almost all woodburning stoves and inserts sold today are certified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as clean-burning. And less smoke means less potentially flammable creosote within their chimney systems; the safety record of wood burning appliances is the best ever.
Finally, burning wood makes economic sense. Many people have access to their own firewood. Even when purchased, cordwood can be an inexpensive form of residential space heating. Modern woodstoves can heat the entire house providing the home is well constructed and adequately insulated. Best of all, there is the immense satisfaction of relaxing in front of your fire.
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