We all love the romance of a real fire or wood burner. The crackle, the warmth, the dancing flames. But is that romance worth the detriment of your health? Latest research will probably make you decide it's not.
The latest Government report of UK Emissions and Air Pollutants states that “Emissions of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) originate from a wide range of sources covering domestic activity, industrial activity, power generation, transport and agriculture. Emissions of particulate matter arising from the domestic combustion of wood as a fuel (wood burners and open fires) increased by 124 per cent between 2011 and 2021, and accounted for 21 per cent of primary emissions of PM2.5 and 12 per cent of PM10 in 2021.
PM2.5 (Tiny Particle Pollutions) is especially harmful to health as it can pass through the lungs into the bloodstream and then be carried around the body and lodge in organs. At least 40 ,000 early deaths a year are attributed to wood burning in Europe.
In 2020 scientists warned that wood burners also triple the level of harmful pollution particles inside homes and should be sold with a health warning. In 2021, experts at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation asked people to use wood burners only if they had no alternative source of heat.
The tiny particles flood into the room when the burner doors are opened for refuelling, a study found. Furthermore, people who load in wood twice or more in an evening are exposed to pollution spikes two to four times higher than those who refuel once or not at all.
The now regulatory “Eco design" wood burners don’t offer any reduction in the pollution either. A report, published by the European Environmental Bureau in 2021, uses official data from Denmark produced under the requirements of a UN air pollution treaty. The ecodesign standard was developed by the EU and adopted by the UK in 2022. It allows wood stoves to emit 375g of PM2.5 for every gigajoule (GJ) of energy produced. In contrast, the latest standard for HGVs is 0.5g per GJ, keeping wood burning fuel as a much larger polluter than HGVs!
With energy prices still high a far better way to reduce those bills is to make sure your boiler is serviced, your central heating radiators are working correctly and your property is well insulated - all will reduce bills and emissions which has got to be a win, win!
In A,D8 UK Limited properties you won't find wood burners or open fires but if you do, they are remnants from the past and are no longer in use.