EDITORIAL: Wood heating requires care

There’s far more involved in heating a house with a wood stove than simply putting match to paper.

Making the decision to heat with wood comes with a responsibility to family, neighbours and the environment.

The first responsibility is to make sure the stove and chimney are installed correctly to avoid any possibility of fire and endangering loved ones. Along with a properly installed wood stove, families not only need a fire escape plan, but need to practise it until it is ingrained into the minds of each person living in the house.

Children, in particular, need to know what to do in case of fire, especially at night when darkness can elevate feelings of fear and confusion.

Proper installation is also part of being responsible to neighbours and the environment – along with burning seasoned wood in small pieces to create enough heat to avoid choking plumes of smoke filling the neighbourhood.

There is little worse than going for a walk on a cold, clear night and having to breathe in wood stove smoke. Or having to keep your windows closed on a sunny, early spring day because a neighbour’s chimney is pumping out dark, smelly pollutants.

An aging, inefficient wood stove is often as much a pollution problem as burning green wood or garbage in the stove.

And with the provincial government and Regional District of Nanaimo continuing the wood stove exchange program, there is little excuse not to be doing as much for the environment as possible.

Incentives are also available on pellet and gas stoves, allowing our forests to be used for producing life-giving oxygen rather than being sacrificed for warming houses.

Trees are not an infinite resource, so if a person chooses to burn for heat, choose to do it wisely.

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