Northwestern cities are fining residents up to $1000 for smoke coming out of their chimneys during weeks-long “burn bans” in the dead of winter
Wood stoves are becoming increasingly popular around the world, along with the desire to live off-grid.
As electricity prices go through the roof, people are looking for cheaper alternatives to heat their homes, including gas, and good old wood… and governments are cracking down on those options as quickly as people are trying to install them.
The EPA banned the production and sale of 80% of existing wood stoves in 2014, and has been tightening emissions restrictions on newer models ever since.
The newer EPA-approved stoves are far more expensive and complicated than the simple cast irons your great-grandparents had… And, they require expensive new catalytic converters every few years if they don’t pass the “smog test”/ produce visible smoke.
Plus, they are less capable of heating homes for long periods of time, making them more useful for holiday ambiance than a primary heat source.
And now many urban U.S. counties are issuing wood-burning bans in the middle of winter, whenever they deem air quality unfit, levying fines of up to $1000 per offense, and encouraging neighbors to rat each other out when they see smoke coming out of their chimneys.
Residents across nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area were prohibited from using their fireplaces and wood stoves during the unusually cold week of Christmas last month because of “excessive pollution in the region.”
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District voted to give itself the power to ban wood burning anytime they see fit in 2019.
“Anyone whose sole source of heat is a wood-burning device must use an EPA-certified or pellet-fueled device registered with the air district to qualify for an exemption,” Patch.com reported.
In other words, “if you can’t afford to heat your home with anything other than your old wood stove, too bad, you need to spend thousands of dollars on a new EPA-certified stove or freeze to death.”
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency banned the use of wood burning heaters in several counties around Seattle for 8 days in November and and two days in December, last month.
Multnomah County, home to Portland, Oregon, has restricted the use of wood stoves for an average of 20-30 days each winter for the last four winters.
According to the EPA, similar “burn bans” are being issued periodically in Colorado, Idaho and New Mexico.
Non-EPA-certified wood stoves have been outlawed entirely in Montreal, Canada since 2018.
Government crackdowns on the oldest source of heat known to mankind are ramping up at the same time wood stove sales are on the rise.
Wood stove sales are “through the roof” in Scotland this winter as Scots are looking for ways to cope with their “cost of living crisis.” Sales are up 60% from last year in the UK, as energy bills continue to soar. Americans are not far behind in the new trend of stockpiling firewood and wood stoves.
Over 2 million Americans still use wood as their primary heat source, and that number is on the rise.
If wood is the cheapest way to heat our homes, it’s probably a reflection that it’s the most economical and efficient. Wood is a renewable resource, so as long as humans don’t reproduce themselves faster than trees, it should be sustainable. The ashes make great fertilizer for your garden as well. It’s crazy to pretend like the production of electricity somehow pollutes the planet less.
And some cities, like NYC, are now banning the use of gas furnaces and water heaters too, the second cheapest energy source after wood.
It makes you wonder, why are they pushing us all to be dependent on electricity? Do you want to be depended on the smart grid, with your smart meter, in your smart city? I don’t, and that’s why I’m going to keep splitting wood from the fallen trees in my backyard, and hold on to my antique Fisher wood stove as tightly as I hold on to my guns!