A mantle of smoke overhangs the city of Port Alberni, indicating a thermal inversion of the sort that commonly traps harmful smoke particulate in winter. (MIKE YOUDS PHOTO)

A mantle of smoke overhangs the city of Port Alberni, indicating a thermal inversion of the sort that commonly traps harmful smoke particulate in winter. (MIKE YOUDS PHOTO)

LETTER: Wood burning stoves still viable for some

I note that wood heat remains a viable and valuable resource for the community…

To the Editor,

Re: Time to clear the air, Letters, March 3

Lest I find myself burned at the stake (no doubt with wood as the main inspiration for the required BTUs), let me clarify that I’m all for no burning during inversions. I’m for no vehicle emissions during inversions also. And lest I find myself not being inclusive or even discriminatory, I’d better include no use of any fossil fuel during inversions, as fossil fuel furnaces contribute as much particulate pollution as at least a vehicle, if not several vehicles, and likely as much or more toxic emissions than an efficient wood stove. Fossil fuel particulates are very toxic to our environment.

But please consider:

– New wood stoves combust very efficiently, many being more efficient than oil furnaces or even gas furnaces. Mine claims to be. I know I only get a couple of small buckets of ash per year out of mine, which the garden seems to accept without complaint..

– Particulate matter from a wood stove, once settled to the ground, returns to the ecosystem, unlike oil and gas particulates which are toxic to the environment.

– Wood is a renewable resource.

– When I buy a cord of wood from a local seller, I provide work and income. Cash in the pocket of someone who needs the money and worked to earn it, not to a remote and uncaring gouging corporation.

– I can heat my home for a year for $800 with wood, with change leftover for camping fuel and nights by the fire in the yard. My woodstove also functions without electricity, which is my main reason for installing one.

– Furnace oil has become very expensive. I note that my “energy efficient” oil furnace requires four to five litres of oil per hour of combustion. That’s five bucks an hour! And far more toxic pollution than my wood stove.

– As a senior on a pension, the added cost and added pollution of a fossil fuel furnace is as repugnant as the fossil fuel emissions.

I note that wood heat remains a viable and valuable resource for the community.

I look forward to the near-future small exhaust scrubbers that could clean the particulates from chimneys and fossil fuel vents. Get to work, stove producers and furnace makers. Clean up your act and clean up our air!

Shaun Adams,

Port Alberni

air qualityAlberni-Clayoquot Regional District