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Why It’s Time to Replace Your Wood-Burning Fireplace - Barbecue World

Why It’s Time to Replace Your Wood-Burning Fireplace

For one thing, chimney sweeps no longer sing and dance.

There’s a lot to love about wood-burning fireplaces. They’re traditional, they’re comfortable, and they smell like our collective childhoods.

But wood-burning fireplaces aren’t for everybody. There are a lot of problems wood fireplaces have that gas fireplaces don’t. Like what?

Chimney Cleaning Is a Necessary Pain in the Butt

Cleaning chimneys isn’t about aesthetics. Chimney fires destroy homes. Wood-burning fires create a build-up of creosote and as little as a fourth-inch of creosote build-up can cause a chimney fire.

Of course, all this can be avoided with either regular chimney cleaning or a gas-burning fireplace that sidesteps problem altogether.

Expect a chimney cleaning to run a few hundred bucks. And your chimney sweep won’t have a fake cockney accent, nor will they do a fun Mary-Poppins-inspired song and dance number.

Wood Smoke Can Be Bad For Your Health

Wood smoke produces particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These are hazardous to people with lung, respiratory, and heart problems. Wood smoke is bad for children too, owing to their developing lungs

Wood Smoke Is Bad for the Environment

When there’s smog in wintertime, wood smoke deserves a big part of the blame. In fact, in Vancouver, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces are responsible for 25 per cent of emissions of fine particulate matter. The government wants to lower our use of wood burning appliances as part of their strategy to decrease climate pollutants.

Regulations on Wood Burning Appliances Are Getting Stricter

Because of the health and environmental impacts of wood smoke, municipal lawmakers are starting to make tougher policies for wood-burning appliances. Montreal and Vancouver have passed stringent new laws that limit emissions on wood fireplaces, and cities in Ontario are following suit.

Wood Is a Hassle

Firewood can run you around $500 a cord. Of course, you want to make sure that it’s properly dried. And stacked properly so that you don’t get short-changed. And that you’re there for delivery to make sure everything’s hunky-dory. And you want to know the difference between a cord and a ‘face-cord’ or an ‘apartment-cord’. Actually, the government runs a page about all this stuff just to make sure people don’t get burned.

You don’t have to buy wood, though. You can chop it down yourself. And if you’ve ever chopped down a whole winter’s worth of firewood, you either really like chopping wood and nothing we say will convince you to switch to gas or you know exactly what we’re talking about when we say that wood is a hassle.

Gas Is a Good Alternative

Wood-burning fireplaces aren’t for everybody. They require a lot of time and care. So if you want the warmth and beauty of a fireplace, but with a little more convenience and less environmental impact, consider making your fireplace burn gas instead of wood.

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