By Thom Carter, Guest Blogger
DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community.
When we think about things we can do to improve our air quality, we often think about driving less. That’s absolutely right. What may not come to mind right away, though, is something right inside our homes — wood-burning stoves.
Wood-burning stoves are a significant source of air pollution — pollution that negatively impacts individuals’ personal health and the environment. Particles that make up the smoke and soot from wood-burning stoves can cause breathing difficulties and sometimes permanent lung damage for those who inhale the smoke. Especially during the cold winter months, smoke from wood-burning stoves gets trapped with other air pollutants resulting in health-threatening inversions. In fact, wood burning stoves can cause a mini-inversion within neighborhoods.
To combat this air-pollution challenge, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) developed the Wood Stove and Fireplace Conversion Assistance Program. The program was developed to incentivize homeowners who reside in counties that are required under federal oversight to improve air quality to convert their fireplace or wood stove into cleaner heating devices.