Thursday, January 28, 2016


My parent's house is like a crematorium. I swear it is like sleeping on the marge on Lake Lebarge! While I damed the heat over the recent Christmas Holidays, I welcomed it after playing hockey, sliding or after the harsh walk face into the cold wind along the beach getting  out the bank from school in the winter.

I grew up in a house that burned wood and not a lot has changed over the past 25 years. There was always oil and electricity but birch, spruce and juniper were the main source of our heat. Heating a home with wood is one of the most cost-effective methods available.

My brothers and I took turns filling up the wood box each night. We all had our times with dad cutting and hauling sticks out of the woods, loading a truck (or a sled), unloading, helping place it on the saw horse, cleaving it up and than stacking it under the house.

Dad likes his wood and his heat. I always joke that it is a surprise that the wall paper stays stuck to the walls. It is renewable and efficient, not to mention a staple in most rural parts of the country.

Every now and than he says that his wood burning days will come to an end, because the government will start regulating chimney emissions. He imagines a day when you will not be allowed to cut wood on crown land, burn wood in your fireplace or go fishing for a meal of cod. So much for self-sufficiency. 

With stories in the media about municipalities like Montreal introducing new emissions regulations in 2018, that reality seems to be getting closer. 

The deadline to register wood-burning stoves and fireplaces in Montreal was December 22, 2015. Those who refused to comply will be subject to fines. 

Once the municipality has the list of registered wood users they will force the owners to upgrade. It is already illegal to install a new wood burning stove, except for those that use energy efficient wood pellets.

According to the Globe and Mail Environment Canada says that a conventional wood stove, burning for nine hours, emits as much particulate matter  as a car driven 18,000 kilometres.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that new, superefficient wood stoves and wood fireplaces produce 94 per cent less smoke pollution than conventional wood stoves and less still than conventional fireplaces 

The new wood stoves eliminate almost all soot by burning wood - and then burning the smoke which makes wood heat with modern wood stoves as clean, or cleaner, than other sources of heat.

Of course I question the studies and the evidence. Anyone that has burned wood knows there is a huge difference in emissions (smoke) depending on the type of wood and the dryness of the wood. Those that use proper techniques for drying, storing and burning wood do not emit nearly as much smoke as those that burn green wood and cardboard. 

There is nothing wrong with new efficiency rules for wood-burning heaters, but banning wood stoves outright, come on!

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