What is woodsmoke?

Wood Smoke

Wood smoke is emitted from wood-burning stoves. In Canada, more and more people are using wood stoves in their homes and some people use them as their primary source of heating. Wood smoke can enter your indoor air when you open the stove to add wood, when there’s a leak, or from outdoor sources.
What is Wood Smoke?

Wood smoke comes from burning wood and it emits numerous pollutants, including the following:

How Does Wood Smoke Get into Indoor Air?

Smoke can be released when you open the stove to add or stoke the firewood;
Smoke can escape into your home through leaks and cracks in faulty or poorly-maintained stoves; and
Wood smoke pollutes the outside air which can then seep back into other nearby homes, even if you do not have a wood-burning stove of your own.
What Are the Health Risks of Wood Smoke?

Exposure to wood smoke can cause eye, nose and throat irritations, as well as headaches, nausea and dizziness. Wood smoke can make asthma worse and it has been associated with an increase in respiratory problems.

Studies have linked wood smoke exposure to increased hospital admissions, and even death, especially in large populations where wood smoke is a significant contributor to indoor and outdoor air pollution.

Wood smoke can affect anyone but these groups are especially vulnerable:
People with existing heart or lung problems.
Children, since their respiratory systems are still developing and because they tend to be more active and inhale more air.
How Do I Prevent or Fix the Problem?
Choose a low-emission stove: Install an “advance combustion” wood stove or fireplace insert to reduce toxic emissions. Look for appliances that carry a certification sticker issued by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This sticker certifies that the appliance emits up to 95% fewer particulates and is up to 20% more fuel-efficient than conventional models.

Switch heating source: Switch to an alternate source of heating such as natural gas or oil.

Maintenance is the key: Make sure that your wood stove is well maintained and working properly. Have it inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.

Clean your chimney: Ensure your chimney and flues are regularly cleaned and kept clear of debris.


Health Canada

Help reduce the environmental and health impacts of wood smoke by:
Using clean dry wood that has been cut, split and stacked for at least six months prior to burning;
Burning smaller pieces of wood, which burn more efficiently and are a better source of heat;
Stacking wood loosely in your firebox to allow the air to freely circulate around it;
Avoiding the use of a wood fire on days when air pollution levels are high;
Never burning wood that has been painted or chemically treated;
Not bringing wet or mouldy wood into your home; and
Reducing the overall amount of wood that you burn.