Burning wood for heat can save money on energy bills. Soot and other particles related to burning wood in the home however, can cause symptoms associated with breathing disorders such as asthma, allergies and emphysema. Fine particles of soot increase the amount of dust in the home. Using an air purifier can help reduce dust and allergic response to the fine particles created with burning wood for heat.
The size of soot and ash from burning wood can range from .2 to 3 microns or larger. Air purifiers and filtration units are rated according to their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. The MERV rating ranges from 1 to 20 with 1 providing the least amount of filtration. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the MERV rating chart, filters with a MERV rating of 17 to 20 have the ability to filter particles as small as .3 microns when new and smaller particles as the filter has been in operation longer. The currently available type that filters particles this small out of the air is a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. The particles captured create smaller air passages so even smaller particles are captured as the filter is used. The best air purifier to use with a wood stove to capture soot, ash and other combustion-related particles is a unit that uses HEPA filters for air purification.
Install air purifiers as a whole-house system, large room-size units and table-top units for lighter filtration needs. The best type of unit to use with a wood stove will depend on the budget allowed for air purification. Whole-house systems are very expensive, but they will effectively remove most of the particles associated with burning a wood stove. The best type of unit to use for an average budget is a room-size air purification unit placed in the room with the wood stove. A table-top unit has limited air flow and may not make a noticeable difference in the amount of particles associated with burning a wood stove in the air--especially for those with respiratory disorders who are sensitive to airborne particles.
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