Outdoor Wood-Burning Furnace Ban Sought

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today called on the General Assembly to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces, which he claims “continuously emit toxic smoke that sickens neighbors and pollutes neighborhoods.”

The American Lung Association and Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), a nonprofit health advocacy group, joined Blumenthal in urging the legislature to impose a statewide prohibition on the furnaces.

Three Connecticut towns — Granby, Hebron and Tolland — have already banned outdoor wood-burning furnaces. Washington state also prohibits the devices.

Blumenthal said, “Outdoor wood-burning furnaces spew toxic smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sickening neighbors and contaminating neighborhoods. A ban is necessary unless and until these furnaces are completely redesigned — to stop their toxic impacts. Outdoor wood furnaces emit the same toxins and carcinogens as cigarettes. The smoke particles are so fine that they infest even the tightest houses and strongest lungs, contaminating bodies and homes.

“These furnaces are a major and malignant menace, causing whole neighborhoods not only sore eyes and throats, but serious chronic respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia. They burn wood at relatively low temperature, emit huge smoke amounts close to the ground and send millions of small soot particles into the air. They have met no federal standards for safety and health.

“Complaints have dramatically proliferated as these furnaces become more prevalent — more homeowners burning wood in outdoor furnaces to avoid higher cost oil or natural gas in tough economic times. Homeowners have no right to pollute their neighborhoods — raising risks of serious disease requiring inhalers and steroids and other common medical treatment.

“These outdoor wood-burning furnaces are drastically different from indoor woods stoves, which are certified under federal standards and therefore should not be banned. A statewide ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces will spare our state this threat to human health and the environment,” Blumenthal said.

EHHI President Nancy Alderman said, “Without a complete ban of these devices, there is really no way to protect the health of citizens in the state. Wood smoke has some of the same components as cigarette smoke, and therefore breathing wood smoke in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is incredibly dangerous.”

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7 Comments on "Outdoor Wood-Burning Furnace Ban Sought"

  1. Does this ban cover things like chimenea’s and fire bowls?

  2. Most outdoor boiler company’s are now coming out with eco-friendly outdoor furnaces for the reasons mensioned above. But will still impact those who need to change to this new type of boiler….More money out of thier pockets.

  3. Would existing installations be allowed? How about if retrofitted with emission lowering updates? Most of the furnaces I have seen use a controlled natural draft; an air intake door opejns when the system calls for heat and the fire slowly starts increasing; These units would run much cleaner with a fan induced forced draft which quickly brings the fire up to clean burn high tempratures when the system calls for heat and the fan starts. The fire burns with plenty of oxygen and a hot clean flame, no soot. Much more effecient so it uses a much smaller amount of wood.

    • Inducing more air so the furnace burns hotter would go a long way to solving the problem but would force the furnaces to consume much more wood which would make that solution highly unpopular.

      I believe there should be no grandfathering of these stoves – mainly because I happen to live next to one and when the wind is wrong we hack and cough constantly

  4. Here’s a good article I found on outdoor wood gasification boilers that also has a link to manufacturers of Orange Tag Phase 1 and White Tag Phase 2 boilers.

  5. Sorry, I forgot to post the link in my previous post. More coffee please.

  6. Indoor wood stoves can also create air quality problems and pose serious health risks for many people living near them. Cleaner burning fuels are so much better. Hopefully the craze for wood burning will end when society finds that the costs of wood burning for the environment and health are just too high.

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