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Save money and keep warm this coming winter

Tuesday, October 17th 2006 11:45:42am

With an advanced combustion woodstove, you're guaranteed to have the cleanest, longest, safest burn possible

Tex McLeod

With another long, cold, Canadian winter quietly descending upon the country and the home heating season right around the corner, many Canadians are piling wood, cleaning their chimneys and checking the condition of their stoves.

Many people are choosing wood as a heating source because of the volatility of natural gas and oil prices.  And while much is being touted about the benefits of 'new' biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, it is important to remember that wood is the original biofuel and a renewable energy source to boot.

Advanced combustion wood stoves (fireplaces and inserts, too) make life even easier for their owners. They use one third less wood to get the same heat output as a conventional stove and reduce smoke pollution and creosote by up to 90%. With older stoves, smoke production can be as high as 40-80 grams of smoke per hour, unlike the newer advanced combustion stoves sold in Canada which emit only 2-5 grams per hour!

What does this all mean?

An advanced combustion woodstove will mean more heat, fewer pollutants and a truly unique fire worth watching. In the end, the longer and cleaner burning fire will produce less smoke and soot, ensuring you'll make fewer trips to the woodshed while providing the peace of mind you need between chimney cleanings. Find out more at www.burnitsmart.org.

So what should you look for when buying an advanced combustion woodstove?

When shopping for an advanced combustion wood stove, make sure to look for an EPA approved model and have it installed or inspected by a WETT (Wood Energy Technical Training) certified technician. To search for the nearest WETT technician, visit www.wettinc.ca.

For others who are looking for a more automated approach to heating with wood, a new pellet stove might be the right appliance to suit your needs. Check with your local dealer for details.

If you are considering a new wood stove and live in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, or in parts of British Columbia (the Okanogan Valley or Highway 16 Corridor), you might qualify for incentives.

It doesn't matter that you're using a new wood stove, fire safety is job one, whether your stove is new or old. Simple steps like maintaining safe clearances, proper hearth protection, and installing a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide alarm are all important when burning wood for heat.

It's important to always burn dry, well-seasoned wood that has been split properly.  Avoid garbage, glossy paper, ocean driftwood, or wood treated with chemicals. Burning these will only add toxic chemicals into the air and coat your chimney quicker.

In recent years, the ability of homeowners to enjoy the technology of an advanced combustion stove has resulted in record sales in Canada. So this winter, avoid taking that extra trip out into the snow for more firewood by upgrading your woodstove - call a WETT installer or wood stove professional today.

Tex McLeod is Manager of the Hearth Products Association of Canada.  Visit hpbacanada.org.

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For an extensive list of regional advanced woodstove dealers or for information on the Hearth Products Association of Canada, contact Jonathan Laderoute, 416.972.7401.