When the weather outside turns frightful, there’s nothing cozier than a warm, crackling blaze in the hearth. But a wood-burning fire in your fireplace can cause health problems, especially if you or a family member has a history of lung disease. Advertising Policy Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps … Read More
When the weather outside turns frightful, there’s nothing cozier than a warm, crackling blaze in the hearth. But a wood-burning fire in your fireplace can cause health problems, especially if you or a family member has a history of lung disease.
Burn dry wood that has been split, covered and stored for at least six months.
Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned every year every year by a certified professional to make sure there are no gaps, cracks or unwanted drafts and to remove any dangerous creosote build-up.
Instead of a fireplace screen, outfit your fireplace with a tight-fitting door.
Make sure that the room with the fireplace is well-ventilated.
If you’re thinking about switching to a gas fireplace to avoid the health hazards of a wood-burning fireplace, gas fireplaces also may affect indoor air quality. They emit nitrogen dioxide, a respiratory irritant, Dr. Cain says.
Reduce wood smoke in your home
One way you can reduce your health risks with burning wood in your home is to use newer fireplace inserts. Those manufactured after 1992 are significantly cleaner-burning than older models because of federal air quality regulations that went into effect at that time, the EPA says.
If these newer appliances are properly installed, well-maintained and used correctly, they can reduce outdoor and indoor air pollution resulting from burning wood – and consequently, help reduce risks to your health.