How Safe Are Wood-Burning Heaters?


Quick Answer

Although they are popular and environmentally friendly, wood-burning heaters can have negative effects on one's health. As long as a person doesn't have respiratory issues, they can be used safely; however, if a person suffers from a chronic illness, such as angina, asthma or emphysema, wood-burning heaters are not recommended.

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Full Answer

The smoke that is produced by a wood-burning heater contains harmful gases and particles. Young children are particularly susceptible to particulate matter because their lungs are still developing. Long-term exposure to wood smoke can lead to a decline in lung function, chronic bronchitis and, in extreme cases, premature death. Proper installation, maintenance and the use of dry wood can significantly decrease the risks and make wood-burning heaters safe to use.

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