People burning wet wood on inefficient stoves ‘poisoning themselves’

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  • People burning wet wood on inefficient stoves ‘poisoning themselves’
  • Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    Turns out heating your house by burning wood is really quite bad

    According to government figures, wood, coal and solid fuel fires in the home generate 40% of total PM2.5 – the smallest and most dangerous particulate. This is more than double the PM2.5 emissions from industrial combustion (16%) and more than three times as much as from road transport (12%).

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/11/people-burning-wet-wood-on-inefficient-stoves-poisoning-themselves

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Yeah  But no but yeah but I want one…..

    5 pages

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Yeah, wet wood has always been an issue since the days when fires were invented.

    Who would have thunkit.

    moose
    Member

    Oosh! Posting a negative story about the middle-classes go to social standing benchmark…

    …what could go wrong?

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    wet wood has always been an issue since the days when fires were invented

    Actually I think the headline is misleading and gives people a route to wiggle out, e.g. “I only burn dry wood” or “my stove is efficient”. The statement in the bit I quoted is the most alarming, wet wood or not. Wood, coal and solid fuel fires in the home generate 40% of total PM2.5 – the smallest and most dangerous particulate.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Apart from local councils restrictions being enforced around wood burners in some areas, for both H&S and smoke/smog/emissions reasons.

    You would be right in thinking the common man cares less about wet wood than what looks good in the corner of the room whilst the central heating is blasting out.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    We must have had a bit of an inversion layer over our street for the past two nights – everyone’s started using their wood burners (who has one) and suddenly there’s a proper bonfire smell as I walk back from the evening dog walk.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    The link between wood burning and a higher mortality rate was established a while ago in this study

    https://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8446

    johnners
    Member

    everyone’s started using their wood burners (who has one) and suddenly there’s a proper bonfire smell

    …and the unholy stench of murder

    Another piont which relates to this is councils charging for disposing of wood. Now people are burning their old treated wood and whatever else will burn causing much more air polution.

    globalti
    Member

    Spot on – my neighbour who is a builder has several bags of waste sawn wood outside his house, some of it stained and painted, and there’s always a distinct smell of burning paint in the evenings. I guess he doesn’t care about his flue.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    …and the unholy stench of murder

    That might be a jokey, flippant comment, but the evidence is that if you burn wood in your home you are contributing to killing more people than if you didn’t burn wood. Although the same is true if you drive a petrol or diesel car. What’s striking is the fact that home generated pollution appears to be over 3 times worse than driving for PM2.5 pollution.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    I guess he doesn’t care about his flue.

    or his neighbours’ health?

    tazzymtb
    Member

    Still not as deleterius to health as a summer barbecue, for a beautiful mix of pah, aldehyde, voc and pm2.5-pm10, but hey everyone loves some cancer with their singed meat.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    I guess he doesn’t care about his flue

    Maybe he’s had his jab.

    What’s striking is the fact that home generated pollution appears to be over 3 times worse than driving for PM2.5 pollution.

    Is that per hour of use? I’ve been a bit uneasy about the impact of my woodburner for a while but it’s really hard to find specific data in context.

    I’d like a nice simple comparison – if I’m poisoning myself more sitting in front of my wood burner or sitting on the motorway or smoking.

    I’d also like to know what’s going up my chimney and what’s coming into my living room.

    I noticed ‘sailing with an auxiliary engine’ was on the list of polluting activities too…

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    what’s going up my chimney and what’s coming into my living room

    putting it simply: whatever goes up your chimney is also coming into your (or someone else’s) living room.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Still not as deleterius to health as a summer barbecue, for a beautiful mix of pah, aldehyde, voc and pm2.5-pm10, but hey everyone loves some cancer with their singed meat.

    IT’s what Gas and Electric BBQ’s are for….

    I’d like a nice simple comparison – if I’m poisoning myself more sitting in front of my wood burner or sitting on the motorway or smoking.

    I’d also like to know what’s going up my chimney and what’s coming into my living room.

    It should all be going up your chimney so it’s everybody else you are impacting. The impact will vary depending on the air flows around, certainly in spots in Tassie where I was the smoke would never lift out of some valleys and suburbs which is probably the worst case for people out there.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    <div class=”bbp-reply-content”>

    Still not as deleterius to health as a summer barbecue, for a beautiful mix of pah, aldehyde, voc and pm2.5-pm10, but hey everyone loves some cancer with their singed meat

    </div>

    Does that account for the frequency/volume of BBQ smoke vs woodburners?

    trail_rat
    Member

    I’d also like to add people who like to lock down and slow burn their stoves all night.

    These people would be first against the wall

    It should all be going up your chimney

    That’s my take – apart from the dust I clean out which is obvs pretty carcinogenic.

    However the article does say “poisoning themselves”.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    However the article does say “poisoning themselves”.

    Well if its not going well and working properly it will be venting into your house. Also you are also going outside to breath is all in.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    Another piont which relates to this is councils charging for disposing of wood. Now people are burning their old treated wood and whatever else will burn causing much more air polution.

    Where’s that? Ours charge for anything building waste (bricks, soil, concrete, etc) but wood is fine.

    Have been slowly disposing of the shedfull of old decking and other rubbish wood the previous owner of my house left “for the logburner” but you’d be mad to burn most of it.

    Didn’t use it last winter and probably won’t this winter either – once the novelty wore off it’s a pain to do and even if I leave the heating off in that room in the depths of winter it gets so hot with a fire going it’s not worth doing, plus feels so antisocial in a built up area. Will probably redecorate next year and the logburner will be going.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Apart from local councils restrictions being enforced around wood burners in some areas, for both H&S and smoke/smog/emissions reasons

    What enforcement?

    What if you drive your VW “Emissions Scandal Era” diesel t5 camper out to the middle of nowhere and fire up the factory installed wood burner???

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    What enforcement?

    I think it’s handled by the same people who nab people for taking the DPF off their diesel cars…… i.e. no one in practice.

    Where I live is a smoke free zone….. and what that means in practice is you can burn anything you like as long as there is no visible smoke. PM2.5 particles, the most harmful, are invisible to the naked eye.

    mdavids
    Member

    We live on a bit of a hill in a 2 storey house, next street is below us and the houses are bungalows. One of them has installed a stove but because of the street layout his chimney is pumping smoke and fumes away from him but directly into all the houses and gardens on our street.

    The council have checked his installation is legit and have basically told us as long as he’s not pumping out visible smoke he’s not doing anything wrong.

    Thing is, even if the smoke isn’t visible, it still stinks. We have to keep our windows shut when its on, there’s been a couple of instances where they’ve been left open whilst we’re out and we’ve came home to a house stinking of smoke. Not as big a problem in the winter months as we aren’t out in the garden but we still need to open windows to get fresh air in and clear condensation.

    I hope these go the same way diesel is going and get banned in built up areas or become prohibitively expensive to use. My mate’s got one and his latest delivery of wood is about 20% more expensive than last year. It certainly doesn’t save him any money off his heating bill and seems like a huge faff on. Fair enough if it’s your only source of heat but if you’ve already got gas central heating it’s a pretty anti-social thing to have IMO.

    footflaps
    Member

    Another piont which relates to this is councils charging for disposing of wood. Now people are burning their old treated wood and whatever else will burn causing much more air polution.

    Ours doesn’t, you can drop anything at the local tip for free; although I burn all offcuts / left overs on the fire.

    Well if its not going well and working properly it will be venting into your house.

    I can’t see how that could even work. The flow is all upwards, hot air rises. In the unlikely event the flow went the other way I can’t see how it can get into the lounge without bringing all the visible nasty stuff with it.

    I fully accept that the dust/ash is carcinogenic and *does* get in the house. I just can’ t believe that in normal use the smoke and crap that normally goes up the chimney is coming into the house in a way that isn’t obvious. There’s quite a thermally created breeze sucking the smoke upwards out of a wood burner, you can hear the thing suck.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    I hope these go the same way diesel is going and get banned

    After seeing the figures, it is odd that cars have been targeted first instead of solid fuel burnt in homes. But it’s ok the Government are doing a consultation (https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/clean-air-strategy-consultation/)……i.e. kicking it into the long grass. The Government were taken to court over air pollution inaction though

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/21/high-court-rules-uk-air-pollution-plans-unlawful

    *I know it’s the Guardian again….

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    I fully accept that the dust/ash is carcinogenic and *does* get in the house

    I hope your username is unrelated to this.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    I can’t see how that could even work. The flow is all upwards, hot air rises. In the unlikely event the flow went the other way I can’t see how it can get into the lounge without bringing all the visible nasty stuff with it.

    Because flues leak, in older houses they have multiple fireplaces per chimney, also have you never had the gust of wind that blows the smoke back down the flue?

     I just can’ t believe that in normal use the smoke and crap that normally goes up the chimney is coming into the house in a way that isn’t obvious.

    Well your setup is probably good and working correctly, not everybody has that.

    nerd
    Member

    @outofbreath: hot air rises but, if there’s a gap or crack in your stove it’s as likely to rise out of there as it is up your flue. i.e. some will come out of your flue and some out of the crack in your stove.

    footflaps
    Member

    if there’s a gap or crack in your stove it’s as likely to rise out of there as it is up your flue. i.e. some will come out of your flue and some out of the crack in your stove.

    Not once it’s up to temp, any gaps just suck air in. Stoves aren’t airtight, there is always some leakage around the door seal / vents but once the draw is established any leaks are just sucking air from the room in. Light a match next to an established stove fire and run it round the door and you can see the flame being pulled into the door seal.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Not once it’s up to temp, any gaps just suck air in

    Well done, we are not talking about when everything iw working fine or up to temp, light it with wet wood and get a room full of smoke if you get it wrong, get a bit of blowback on a windy day and that changes too. It’s not about things working in perfect ideal combustion conditions though…..

    Comparing it to something like a pellet/chip boiler it’s still a perfect pollution generator.

    footflaps
    Member

    light it with wet wood and get a room full of smoke if you get it wrong

    Hardly a big deal though, that only occurs for a very short period until the flue has warmed up which takes a min or two. I get that with dry kindling and fire lighters some nights. Just shut the vents, wait 1 min and the draw is up to speed.

    Not once it’s up to temp, any gaps just suck air in. Stoves aren’t airtight, there is always some leakage around the door seal / vents but once the draw is established any leaks are just sucking air from the room in.

    That’s my experience. The inside of the wood burner is lower pressure than the room. It’s sucking air out of the lounge not the other way around. Open fires are slightly different, of course, you can often smell wood smoke in pubs with open fires. I guess there’s a lot less draw and a lot more scope for ‘blowage’,

    get a room full of smoke

    That’s what I’m saying. The hypothesis is that the obvious nasty smoky poisonous stuff is somehow seperated from the invisible nasty smoky poisonous stuff and only the invisible stuff is coming into the house. I need a bit more convincing of that. Clearly you you can smell smoke you’re poisoning yourself in a very obvious way.

    I hope your username is unrelated to this.

    Let’s hope not! But that’s why I want to keep an eye on these issues.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    I think it’s handled by the same people who nab people for taking the DPF off their diesel cars…… i.e. no one in practice.

    Agreed, I don’t think it’s enforced generally, I was wondering if anyone knew of specific examples.

    Premier Icon bedmaker
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    https://flic.kr/p/2bRSHCU

    Soz, there goes another child’s face.

    Oosh! Posting a negative story about the middle-classes go to social standing benchmark…

    …what could go wrong?

    This.

    I see the feet are already being stamped.

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