Wood burners are a danger to health

We now only use our wood burner if we have no electricity, so it is only a back up.
Four years ago my doctor told me that it was the wood burner that was causing me to have chest infections in the winter.
I have found out that if there is no wood burner there is no infection.
I am asthmatic so it makes total sense to me.
I just wonder how many people are coming out to the country to get away from pollution and then damaging their health by using these wood burners?

If you’ve found a way to ease your symptoms… well done. :hugs:

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I have a problem with many chemicals.
Diesel smoke, cigarette smoke, some perfumes, the cleaner they use in supermarkets etc.
Freezing weather is also a no no.
I only developed asthma when I was fifty after a severe chest infection .
I have wet asthma, which means that I make fluid in my lungs and throat when they become irritated.
I get a problem from our neighbour’s wood burner smoke which, somehow, in certain weather conditions collects in our courtyard and which means that I have to sleep with my window closed.

I wonder if there is a difference between old inefficient wood burners and new efficient one, and perhaps also pellet burners.

I don’t think we can afford to heat our house on electricity alone, if not heated it would get damp causing other health issues.

Bit of a scare story here methinks.

There are plenty of good Norwegian books about wood burners and how to use them properly - it all comes down to the correct wood and absolutely correct moisture content of that wood to promote efficient and total burning.

A more modern burner is obviously more efficient than an old, inefficient one.


@Mat_Davies I notice that the wood burner pictured in the article seems to be rather an old model. The article states that the pollution problem is caused by opening the door for refueling, so a pellet stove fed from a hopper would not cause the problem.
One also has to note that the wood burners monitored in the study were only used for an average of 4 hours per day in the evenings. Therefore the stove would need to be refueled several times as is always needed in the first hours after lighting, and this, presumably when the occupants are hunkered down for the evening with all the windows closed.

Using a wood burner in the manner described in the article is of course very inefficient as by the time that the stove has first heated itself, and then the room, the occupants of the house are probably ready for their beds. The better way to go about things is to light the wood burner earlier in the day to bring the room up to the required temperature by 5pm, refuel it at that time, and then close down the air flow so that it just burns gently throughout the evening without the need to keep stoking it. In this way, damage to health by particulate emission into the room is minimised, and the room is actually at a more comfortable and even temperature.
The stove should also be installed with a brick or stone surround that acts as a heat store to return heat into the room for many hours after the fire has died down to virtually nothing.

Some folks are particularly susceptible to certain things health wise and need to take special measures, but I think that for most of us, provided that we use each appliance in the way and circumstance for which it was intended, then the risks are minimal.


Anyone with a lung condition of any kind should really avoid burning anything in their house whether that be a wood burner or coal fire or candles or essential oils. All give off irritants that will exacerbate an existing lung condition. Anyone without a lung condition should also think carefully about burning candles particularly those containing paraffin wax. Short article for anyone interested.
Izzy x

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Stove pollution has been a known issue for years. The Norwegians did research and provided advice on how best to reduce pollution from your wood stove, particularly when lighting it as that can give off lots of particles, plus onward burning.

New double combustion stoves are better, but still not perfect.

But if there was a choice between having new born baby growing up in tiny flat next to busy road, or a more spacious house surrounded by green-space but with a wood stove which would you choose?


Getting hypothermia is also fairly bad for you


As an experienced motorcyclist, my feeling is that if you’re too cold (or wet) it just means you have the wrong clothes on…


We don’t heat our house on electricity alone, but the oil burner needs electricity to function.
Many French houses rely on wood burners to heat the home as the sole source of heat, so you cannot escape from the fumes.
We also have a heat exchanger using 3 90 metre wells. That is for the part of the house that was renovated.
We have always had the ides that we will try to be as flexible as we can be, given we are in les perpetes des oies.

Our next door neighbours have a wood pellet fired system.
The hopper that feeds the burner is huge and not everybody has that space available.
Also, like other forms of heating, it is not cheap.
Also it is not so green as you might imagine, because it takes quite a lot of energy to turn the wood into the pellets.

It would be interesting to know your thoughts on this system.

The “green” aspect is the sustainability of the wood itself.

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It works well. We have had it installed for ten years now, so it was a bit before its time here in Burgundy.
The man who drilled our wells said that we have the best possible geological structure for this system.
We have layers of granite with an underground river running between the layers of rock.
It is flexible in that it can heat, cool and heat the swimming pool, obviously not all at the same time.
It was very expensive, but might be less expensive now. we just felt that we needed to do our bit.
We installed water heating solar panels on the gite at the same time.


Plus the amount of energy it takes to convert the wood, whether sustainably sourced or not.

My friend has a pellet burner stove which was very expensive to buy and was fitted by qualified artisans. She finds the pellets are a lot easier to handle compared to logs but has problems storing them as they must be kept in very dry conditions. She has a velux window in the roof fairly near to the pellet burner outlet pipe. This window becomes very dirty with the build up of burnt resins from the outlet pipe. The roof is also discolored too. The original fitters say this is normal but I wouldn’t be too happy with this side effect and would be concerned that I may be breathing in some toxic resin residue.

10 years ago - you really were ahead of the game!

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We had a huge renovation to do.
You can see the pictures on the website for the gite.
All the pictures for the wiring and for the installation for the heat exchanger are on there as well.


@Joyce_Hartley There are rules and regs governing minimum distances between the outlets of flue pipes and windows and other openings, but unfortunately many installers seem oblivious to them and often install the flue pipe in an unauthorised location.
For many installers the adverse effects are indeed normal, simply because it is normal for them to fail to follow the rules.