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What Fairbanks residents can do to help keep PM2.5 emissions down

Having a wood stove can save money on heating your house, but the stoves can be dangerous if...
Having a wood stove can save money on heating your house, but the stoves can be dangerous if not properly taken care of.(John Dougherty/KTVF)
Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 4:18 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With more Fairbanks residents working from home due to COVID, how can residents keep PM 2.5 emissions down? According to officials we spoke with, the best thing would be, first and foremost, to use dry wood when when heating their homes -- and steady, efficient use of the wood stove when needed can help.

“You do have more emissions when a stove is set to smolder. You get ready to go to work so you turn your stove down and it just kind of sits there during the day, versus if the stove has a good coal bed, it’s being very efficient, you’re feeding it periodically as you need it, [and] depending on the device it may actually have less emissions,” said Cindy Heil, Program Manager in the Division of Air Quality For the Department of Environmental Conservation.

While these steps can help, it is still not fully known what effect more people working from home will have on emissions.

“We don’t really know, it’s very individual -- depending on the circumstances of the household, what kind of unit they have, how often they’re feeding it, and what types of fuel they’re using,” said Heil.

If someone is resorting to wet wood, using a wood pellet log can assist in counteracting the negatives; however, dry wood is still recommended.

“If people have just wet wood, we did do studies and if they use one of the pellet logs that is sold by the company there, adding a pellet log can actually reduce emissions a little bit as well because it burns hotter and is really dry. You don’t want to burn those pellet logs by themselves because they get really hot,” said Heil.

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