EPA’s Burnwise Program

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire…

By Lina Younes

This past weekend my children decided to set up the Christmas tree.  At the end of the decorating event, they asked that we light up the chimney to sit back, have hot cocoa and roast marshmallows. Even though the evening was not that cold, we willingly complied because we wanted to share this special family moment around the open fire as the song goes.

While fireplaces may conjure fond memories of winters past, the fact is that you shouldn’t use just any type of wood or paper in a fireplace or wood-burning appliance. The key is to burn the right wood, the right way, in the right appliance. If you use the wrong type of wood and an unsafe appliance, the burning process may generate too much smoke with the wrong mix of gases and fine particles that may lead to serious health effects.

EPA has a partnership program, BurnWise, designed to create awareness on the proper materials and tools to protect your health, home and environment. It provides useful tips and advice in the selection of wood burning stoves and EPA Certified appliances. In addition to outreach materials, the website also has useful information on certain communities that have local ordinances to reduce wood smoke.

The proper use of the wood and these fuel-burning appliances will go a long way to protect your family and even prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for weekly tips on our BurnWise program. Send us your comments. We would love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as acting associate director for environmental education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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My Heating Experience during the Snowstorm

By Denise Owens

After last year’s snowstorms, I decided to purchase a heater for my home in case the power goes out again. The fireplace helped, but it just wasn’t warm enough. I needed more.

After visiting several stores, I realized that there were a variety of heaters to choose from. I saw several energy efficient heaters, but they all required electricity; therefore I decided to purchase a fuel heater.

That required me to also purchase fuel, so I was thinking to myself, do I really want to do all of this? But then I realized that my electricity seems to go out for every weather condition.

Once I purchased the heater, I decided to try it before the next snowstorm actually arrived. The heater felt great and it kept my house extremely warm. But when I turned it off, I then noticed there was some smoke. As soon as I noticed the smoke I began to think to myself, what are the side effects from this heater?

After the power was restored I decided to do the research I should have done prior to purchasing the fuel heater. I then realized that it is not the best thing to use, but what do you do for a heat source when your power goes out for days?

Check out DOE Energy Savers and EPA’s Burnwise Program information.

About the author: Denise Owens has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency for over 25 years.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.