Wood burning is surprisingly very popular in many parts of Canada. Now that Montreal has passed its municipal law banning wood-burning stoves, it's likely more major metropolitan areas will follow suit. But despite the arguments in favor of heating homes with wood, there are a number of reasons to make the switch ahead of time to a different kind of heater.
The Dangers of Burning Wood
Having a wood-burning stove in your home increases your risk of a house fire. This can happen if the stove is old, poorly-maintained, or is simply stoked with a bigger, hotter fire than it can handle. By contrast, other methods of heating, such as oil or gas furnaces, rarely cause fires.
In addition to fire, wood-burning stoves can also put your family's health at stake. According to Environment and Human Health, Inc., burning wood releases more carcinogens into the air than cigarettes. It can also impact the lung development of young children and irritate those who already have breathing problems such as asthma. The smoke can even enter neighboring homes. This is why many local governments are considering banning wood-burning stoves.
The Costs of Upgrading
In general, heating your home with wood can save you money. Many people use wood to offset the costs of their heating bills. However, when wood stove bans are passed, it becomes much more expensive. In Montreal, citizens are required to update their wood-burning stoves to meet environment regulations. These upgrades can cost over $4,000. Not upgrading your stove will also result in steep fines as will burning wood during smog alerts.
Transitioning to another method of heating will save you from rushing to meet a deadline and help you avoid fees in the future. Your local government may even offer a rebate for switching to a different type of heat.
Your Environmental Footprint
Wood burning is typically seen as more "green" than burning fossil fuels because wood is a renewable source of energy. It also emits less carbon than fossil fuels. While this may be true, burning wood can have a significant impact on the environment.
The transportation of firewood has been linked to the death of ash trees throughout the continent due to the emerald ash borer. It can also transport the beetles that carry dutch elm disease. This limits those with wood-burning stoves to find wood in their immediate local area. When too many people chop down the trees from their yards in order to heat their homes, it can harm tree populations and wildlife in the vicinity.
Making the Switch
It isn't difficult to make the switch from a wood-burning stove to a different method of heating your home. Likely, you already have an oil or gas furnace. Call a heating company to get an estimate your heating costs. Companies like TRI-ROM Industries Ltd Cooling may be able to help.