Wood stove article missing key elements

More factors to clean burning than just the appliance

Editor,

I am appalled at the one-sidedness of the woodstove exchange article in last weeks paper (“Woodstove exchange program continues” Interior News, Apr. 17, 2019 Page A11).

I have been involved in keeping warm with wood heat for over 70 years. As many in this valley will know, I had a factory, by the name of RSF Energy, that built wood stoves and fireplaces in Smithers for 19 years. During this time, we built 50,000 units. Being the designer, I spend many hours watching wood burn. I was also in EPA labs numerous times, having my units tested for emissions. Reducing smoke in the valley has less to do with dollars and more to do with sense.

Let me explain: The installation of a new-EPA certified stove is no guarantee for less smoke. Your article mentions “improper burning” at the beginning, and then never explains the meaning of those two words.

Again, let me explain: I use an RSF Energy unit to heat my home and so does our neighbour down the road. As I drive by, I am often greeted by thick smoke from his chimney. A lot of times, I will arrive home and hardly see anything come out of my chimney. What can be the difference? The only thing different would be the quality of the fuel.

If you would study the test protocol issued by EPA, test wood is to be 16 per cent in moisture content. Anything wetter than that has no chance of low emissions. That is the difference. The neighbour has his wood just lying outside in a pile. Ours is first split and then stored in our woodshed for at least two summers. It definitely never has more that 16 per cent moisture content. And, just an aside, in 10 years we have never had to clean our chimney.

Your article mentions “efficiency.” I have met numerous people who have “upgraded” and found they burn more wood now, with less control over room temperature. Where is the efficiency? In order to pass EPA, often, less output control helps pass the unit.

I ask that you publish this letter in the hope it will help some people reduce smoke around their home.

JG (Hans) Duerichen PEng

Smithers

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