Although I think there should be some restrictions on wood-burning appliances, the wording of your weekly poll question is perhaps a bit ambiguous (“Should wood-burning home fireplaces and stoves be banned in urban areas?”).
There is little comparison between an open fireplace or an inexpensive wood stove belching out smoke and particulate and a CSA/EPA-approved “airtight” appliance.
Older (and newer inexpensive) wood stoves, lacking secondary air injection to “burn the smoke,” are only slightly more efficient than an open masonry fireplace. Neighbours can clearly see when they are operating due to the often intense and irritating smoke column they emit.
A properly operated CSA/EPA-approved wood stove provides little indication it is running other than a heat wave visible above the chimney.
It is simply not appropriate to lump all wood-burning fireplaces into the same category. Along with open fireplaces, wood stoves and CSA/EPA-approved wood stoves, perhaps the next step will be to ban all natural gas fireplaces. Why be allowed to use a 75-per-cent efficient fireplace when your home can be heated with a 95-per-cent efficient furnace, or electric baseboard heaters?
The simple pleasure of sitting by a crackling fire is an enjoyable experience, that’s why virtually all gas fireplaces are sold with imitation log sets and cable companies run endless loops of a wood burning fire during Christmas holidays.
Although some action may be required, a complete ban of all wood burning due to the inappropriate actions of a few is not the right way to go.
Larry Miller, Delta