Particulate pollution from stoves

Particle pollution from stoves

Via Treehugger, who has lots more detailed information on the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of stoves.

So, there’s no question about it, oil and gas furnances burn much cleaner than any type of wood or pellet stove, no matter how advanced they may be. Plus, as Treehugger points out, pellet stoves are complicated and require electricity to run – which makes them useless in a power outage.


  1. My understanding, though, is that partculate pollution is temporary– it comes down to earth in precipitation, returning to the soil as carbon. In a densely populated area, it may not come down as fast as it goes up, causing serious pollution problems. (You can see this effect from a diesel bus!) In a rural area (where most wood is grown), is there an averse effect on the environment?

    In addition, the net greenhouse gases are much less for wood heat than for oil or gas, some claim there is even a net reduction, because trees absorb CO2. So there’s an upside and a downside to each. Once again, there may be no right answer for every situation.

  2. The data are interesting, but the graphs are hideous. Note that the EPA-certified Wood Stove is approximately 40% of the pollution of an uncertified woodstove, which is the equivalent of saying that the uncertified woodstove is about 2.5 times greater in pollution. Yet the circle looks to be about 4-5 times bigger.

    The problem is that the measurement is linear, whereas the area of the circle increases in proportion to the square of the radius. Thus, the graph fails to match the data. It’s a common mistake, but irksome nonetheless. Linear data require linear graphs.

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