Wood Heating

Wood Heating - Barrie Wett InspectionsWood heating is practiced on a small scale, the fuel is usually harvested from a local resource, and the users gain a more complete understanding of their impacts on the environment than users of other energy sources. As environmentalists have suggested, these are some of the very features needed for economic and environmental sustainability. Families who heat their homes with wood responsibly should be recognized for their contribution to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a sustainable energy future.

Wood stoves are free-standing space heating appliances. Used either as the principal source of heat for a home or to supplement conventional heating systems, wood stoves are the most popular form of wood heating equipment because of their relatively low cost and installation flexibility. There are two general categories of wood stoves based on differences in combustion technology, emission characteristics and efficiency: conventional wood stoves and advanced technology, EPA certified wood stoves.

Wood cooking stoves have a cook-top surface, a bake oven and sometimes a reservoir for domestic hot water. Cook stoves are not common in Canada, although a few models are still available for sale in specialty stores. Cook stoves are exempt under the EPA wood burning regulations because the numbers were considered small and their manufacturers testified that practical cooking features and low emission combustion technology are incompatible. Smoke emissions performance for cooking ranges is not available, but particulate emissions are probably similar to conventional wood stoves.

Certified WETT inspectors will specifically inspect components of all wood-burning appliances and fireplaces to determine if they were installed safely and in accordance with building and fire code requirements. WETT inspectors are required to complete a minimum of four days of formal training and declare a minimum of 80 weeks of related field experience before being certified.

The best way to start your fire is with newspaper and dry kindling. Never try to get a blaze roaring with gasoline, kerosene or charcoal starter – you will get more firepower than you bargained for. Remember to remove ashes from your stove or fireplace regularly and store them in a covered metal container in a safe area away from the side of your house. The sparks in hot ashes can easily start fires. It is important to keep all household items – such as; drapes, furniture, newspaper and books – away from the heat and the stray sparks of your wood stove or fireplace.

Any fuel you choose to heat your home will affect the environment. When wood is not burned properly, it can have negative impacts on both outdoor and indoor air quality. Smoldering, smoky fires that produce a plume of blue-grey smoke from the chimney are the main cause of air pollution related to wood burning. You can reduce the amount of smoke from wood heating in many ways.

The Barrie Home Inspector is a WETT Certified Professional Home Inspector for the Barrie, Alliston and Orillia area of Simcoe County. The experience and knowledge from over 4,000 inspections allows us to guarantee the best possible WETT and Home Inspection. The Barrie Home Inspector is also a Certified Building Code Official with the Ontario Building Officials Association.

Combustion for Heating

Combustion for heating.  Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species.  As with any fire, burning wood fuel creates numerous by-products, some of which may be useful, and others such as wood ash require removal and cleaning.  A major component of wood smoke is fine particles that may account for a large portion of particulate air pollution in some regions.

firewood - barrie WETT inspector

WETT Certified Inspector

You should only burn dry well-seasoned wood, not wet or freshly cut wood. Season wood at least six months; store outdoors, loosely covered, to allow air to circulate freely through the pile.  When burning wood you should load your wood stove to prevent frequent opening of the door.  Try and not to burn your wood at a low heat, this will cause heave build up of creosote and could cause a chimney fire.

Smoke – Product of combustion.   Smoke can enter your home when you open your wood stove door or if you have negative pressure in your home.  There are newer advanced combustion stoves which reduce levels of smoke and toxic emissions.  Look for a Certification Sticker from CSA or other recognized rating agency. Read More

Solid Fuels

Solid fuel refers to various types of solid material that are used as fuel to produce energy and provide heating,oih sually released through combustion.Solid fuels include wood (see wood fuel), charcoal, peat, coal, Hexamine fuel tablets, and pellets made from wood (see wood pellets), corn, wheat, rye and other grains. Solid-fuel rocket technology also uses solid fuel (see solid propellants).

The Wood Burning Processcombustion of wood Evaporation of water: Up to half the weight of a freshly cut log is water. After proper seasoning the water content is reduced to less than 20 per cent. As the wood is heated in the firebox, this water boils off, consuming heat energy in the process. The wetter the wood, the more heat energy is consumed. That is why wet firewood hisses and sizzles and is hard to burn while properly seasoned wood ignites and burns easily.
The emission of smoke: As the wood heats up above the boiling point of water, it starts to smoke. The smoke is the visible result of the breakdown of the solid wood as it vaporizes into a cloud of combustible gases and tar droplets. The smoke will burn if the temperature is high enough and oxygen is present. When the smoke burns, it produces the bright flames that are characteristic of wood combustion. Smoke that does not burn in the firebox is released into the” title=”View all articles about chimney here”>chimney where it will either condense as creosote deposits or vent to the outdoors as air pollution. Unburned smoke represents an efficiency loss because it contains a large part of the total energy in the wood.
The charcoal phase: As the fire progresses and most of the gases and tars have vaporized out of the wood, charcoal remains. Charcoal is almost entirely carbon and burns with a red glow and very little flame or smoke. Charcoal is a good fuel that burns easily. However, a charcoal fire releases carbon monoxide which is a poisonous gas, so even though it is not smoky, the exhaust must be completely vented to outdoors.
In practice, all three phases of wood combustion can happen at the same time. The wood gases can be flaming and the edges of the pieces can be glowing red as charcoal burns, while water in the core of the piece is still evaporating. The challenge in burning wood effectively is to boil off the water content quickly and make sure the smoke burns with bright flames before it leaves the firebox.

Call the Alliston WETT Inspector for any wood burning questions or inspection information you may require.  Call Roger at 705-795-8255

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