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Log Burner

Are Wood Burners Bad for the Environment?

Are Wood Stoves Bad?

The world has evolved over the last 20 years, with people much more conscious about the environment and their carbon footprint these days. People take an active interest in trying to minimise their own carbon footprint, which is probably why you get so many people asking “are wood burners bad for the environment?”. 

There is an obvious attraction to purchasing a wood burner, once installation costs are out the way they are pretty cheap to run, and nothing says cosy like sitting down at home with your own log burner on, flames flickering as the deep comforting heat spreads out throughout the room. Which explains why there’s such a market for them, with roughly 1.5m already at work in the UK with another 200,000 stoves being sold every year.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how bad for the environment wood burners are with some people stating they are out and out worse than burning fossil fuels (which seems ridiculous, but my father is included in this group) whilst others preach it as the answer to our energy problems. Well allow us at  Forest Master to debunk this myth for you, read on to find out all about wood burners.

Log Stoves – How bad are they?

In a nutshell, they’re not bad for the environment at all. In fact, they come so close to carbon-neutral, it is much more effective to just say they are carbon-neutral.Think about it logically, the tree sucks in the carbon dioxide as it’s growing to power photosynthesis, the photosynthesis makes the tree bigger. Chop down a tree, burn it to release all the carbon dioxide it has used to photosynthesise back into the atmosphere.
This is known as the carbon cycle, and this definitely explains why and how log burners are carbon-neutral, for anybody interested in the science. 

Log Burner

So Wood burners are good?

Well they’re not bad for the environment, but they’re not good either, no. In fact they’re recorded as being terrible for air pollution, which is something completely different to the environment. Your wood burners give off fumes which contain microscopic specks of soot into the air, which in turn wreaks havoc on air pollution. In fact, King’s College London claims that wood-burning in London accounts for up to 31% of the air pollution in London, which is crazy. 

In a study done by The Guardian and Greenpeace, it estimates that 50,000 children are exposed to potentially harmful air quality on a daily basis, in which log stoves and wood burners play a part. These microscopic particles of soot enter the lungs and exacerbate respiratory problems, which seems pretty logical if you’re inhaling soot all day. 

So Wood Burners are bad?

Well, I can’t really answer that for you as you may have gathered, it depends entirely on your standpoint. They’re better than fossil fuels for the atmosphere, but worse for local air pollution. 

Many articles have been passed in parliament since 1952, after The Great Smog of London in which 4,000 people lost their lives with another 100,000 taken ill as the result of poor air quality. The Clean Air Act is currently enforced which prohibits active chimneys in certain areas in the UK in which air quality is particularly bad. Current UK Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is attempting to ban wood burners in all urban areas with poor air quality, which will obviously massively affect the UK market for wood burners, so keep an eye out for this.

Interested in how logs will burn in your log burner? Check out this post

2 comments

  1. I have been told as long as you burn Kim dried logs this is absolutely fine,that’s what we do?

    1. Hi Joe,
      You’re correct in the fact that kiln dried logs massively reduce the amount of soot released into the air, so long as the moisture content is below 20%.
      However, this doesn’t completely eliminate the small amounts of soot, just significantly reduces it.

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