As the colder months are now upon us many households will be looking to their open fires and wood-burning stoves for warmth. These have risen in popularity in recent years and may be an additional form of heating, an attractive feature or the sole heat source. Some people are unaware that use in the home increases domestic exposure to air pollutants and makes a significant contribution to our national emissions of airborne particulates. These are inhaled and transported around the body where they can become lodged in the heart, brain and other organs.
While we will never be able to eliminate all airborne particulates, there are simple steps that households can take to limit emissions both indoors and out that will make a big difference. So what can you do?
- Consider burning less
- Only burn dry (seasoned) wood including certified ‘Ready to Burn’. Visit www.readytoburn.org for more information.
- Burn seasoned (dry) clean wood rather than treated waste wood (i.e old furniture, treated pallets) or household rubbish which emit harmful fumes*
- Consider using an approved smokeless fuel
- If you are buying a new stove check it is Defra approved and installed by a qualified person, see www.hetas.co.uk
- Check how to operate your appliance efficiently by controlling air supply etc. – this will save you money as well as reduce emissions
- If you have a stove, regularly maintain and service it (i.e annually)
- Get your chimney swept regularly (up to twice a year)
Sticking to these simple tips will help to keep airborne particulates and smoke down and ensure optimum efficiency and safety. For more information visit our air quality webpages at http://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/environment/environmental-protection/air-quality/biomass-and-wood-burning/
If you need financial help making your home cheaper to heat, for example with first time central heating, there are a number of schemes that you may be eligible for, visit http://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/housing/energy-efficiency/ and http://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/housing/grants/renovation-grants/ or contact our Private Sector Housing Team on (01502) 523119 or firstname.lastname@example.org