Proper wood burning reduces emissions

Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In reference to wood boiler emissions being a cause for concern (Clarion letter, Aug. 24), I built my first outdoor furnace according to specifications and proceeded to plug the 8-inch stack completely with creosote. The combustion air regulator was way too small. Then I learned how to burn wood. I added a hinged door beneath the large door and learned that it takes six times the amount of air to burn the wood gas out as it does to burn charcoal. After the wood gas has burned the lower door closes and the charcoal burns on one-sixth the air required for the wood gas burn. The black smoke of the wood gas burn is short-lived. The charcoal burn creates no smoke, so for four hours you see no smoke. Since the outdoor furnace heats sand and maintains heat, no wood should be added. The fire should be cycled out and then started all over.

To think that regulators would prevent us from using all that beetle killed fuel because someone has asthma defies logic. I returned to Alaska 60 years ago to escape such regulation, but like dung after a young calf it follows us wherever we go. We could, though, learn to burn wood properly.

Lyle Cole


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