Electric fireplace or gas? Ethanol or logs? Your guide to four hot options.

October 2018

Sitting by a fireplace may be warm but it isn’t necessarily green. “Most are a big energy drain because the chimney exhausts large volumes of heated air from your house,” says Chris Higgins, a LEED Canada for Homes program leader at the Canada Green Building Council in Vancouver. And the air pollution and greenhouse gases created when a fire burns are bad for the environment.

The good news? In the past decade, clean combustion technologies have been developed to reduce fireplace pollution and improve performance, says Skip Hayden, director of renewable and integrated energy systems at Natural Resources Canada. The greenness of your choice depends on where you live, the source of your energy, and how much heat you need.

Wood-burning Fireplaces

Many praise log-burning fireplaces because wood is renewable and greenhouse gas–neutral (the carbon released when wood burns would be released anyway as the tree died and rotted in the forest). “The new advanced combustion clean-burning wood fireplaces can be up to 70 per cent efficient, with emissions one-tenth of those of conventional wood-burning fireplaces,” says Hayden. There will be some maintenance involved to clean the ash and chimney and stock the fireplace with wood. Choose a wood insert or stove that meets CSA B415 certification or EPA Phase 2 standards.

Costs $3,800 and up for the insert, including installation. Clean-burning fireplace logs cost $1.50-$5 and burn for two to three hours.

Gas Fireplaces

Natural gas fireplaces typically come second to wood-burning in eco-friendliness. Gas is a non-renewable source of fossil energy that emits small amounts of pollutants (nitrogen oxide, which contributes to smog and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas) when burned. They don’t require a chimney, just an outdoor vent or vent pipe. Choose one with an electronic pilot light that doesn’t burn gas on standby. Check the EnerGuide label for an efficiency rating based on the CSA-P.4 test method, which is the most reliable efficiency measure, says Hayden. Fireplaces range from five to 90 per cent efficient, he adds. To find one with more than 70 per cent efficiency, search enerchoice.org.

Costs $3,400 and up including installation; framing and a mantel can add thousands. “Gas is inexpensive right now, so the cost to operate is close to par with wood,” says Donald Dodge, a program manager at Efficiency Nova Scotia.

Ethanol Fireplaces

Ethanol-burning fireplaces are somewhat green if the ethanol comes from corn or wood, which are arguably sustainable albeit with energy costs associated with producing them. These models burn clean with a slight odour and don’t require a chimney flue. However, some experts are uncomfortable with releasing combustion gases into homes and suggest they should be vented outside. These small-space fireplaces aren’t the best for heating.

Costs About $300 and up for a small tabletop unit; up to $13,000 for high-end stand-alone units, depending on size and materials.

Electric Fireplaces

In these provinces, where electricity comes from hydro, an electric fireplace can be environmentally friendly, says Dodge. “But if your electricity is coal-powered (as in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Maritimes) then it’s not as much of a clean choice.” In Ontario, electricity is a mix of hydro, nuclear and coal so it falls somewhere in the middle. Generally, electric fireplaces heat less efficiently than most other options. Look for a model with thermostat-controlled heating; otherwise it will run full blast all the time and cost more.

Costs About $200 to $2,000 with installation. Then you’ll have to pay the electric bills: in Nova Scotia, electricity costs 13 cents per kilowatt hour; in Manitoba, you’d pay half of that.

Efficient and Plentiful Production : Pellet

September 2018

Wood Pellet Association of Canada members are world leaders in the design
and operation of modern pellet plants.

They are also volume producers, as the size and number of wood pellet
producers continues to grow across Canada.

As of March 2012, there were 42 active plants in Canada, with 12 more in
construction and 10 others on the drawing board (see a PDF map of Canadian
plants, including those proposed and under construction). Most of these are
directly linked to bulk shipping options that include both rail and specially
designed deep-water port facilities on two coasts. They are ready and tuned
for the development of export and Canadian bulk pellet markets (see full
report on the potential Canadian market for power generation)

The industry has matured, making WPAC members a reliable, seasoned pellet

Pellets by Numbers
Annual capacity: 3 million tonnes
Export volumes: 1.9 million tonnes
Ash content – pellets: 0.4-0.5%
Ash content – coal: 8.5-10.9%
Moisture content: 5-10%
Energy value: 18.5-20 GJ/tonne

Green Heat: Clearing the air about wood heating

August 2018

Does heating with wood cause global warming ?
What about local air quality ?
Does wood heating harm the forest ?
Is wood heating safe?
Good questions. Real Answers.

Wood heating and global warming

By heating with wood you do not contribute to the greenhouse effect as
you would by heating with one of the fossil fuels like oil and gas. When oil
and gas are burned, carbon that has been buried within the earth for
thousands of years is released in the form of carbon dioxide, a by-product
of combustion. The result is an increase in the atmospheric concentration of
carbon dioxide, the cause of the greenhouse effect.

Although carbon makes up about half the weight of firewood and is
released as carbon dioxide when the wood is burned, it is part of a natural
cycle. A tree absorbs carbon dioxide from the air as it grows and uses this
carbon to build its structure. When the tree falls and decays in the forest,
or is processed into firewood and burned, the carbon is released again to
the atmosphere. This cycle can be repeated forever without increasing
atmospheric carbon. Heating with wood, therefore, does not contribute to
the greenhouse effect. And there’s more good news: when the use of
wood for energy displaces the use of fossil fuels, the result is a net
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Wood heating and air quality

Wood is not an inherently dirty fuel that causes serious air pollution. While
it is true that old technology like open fireplaces and simple heaters could
not burn the wood completely, the new generation of woodburning
appliances produce almost no visible smoke and deliver efficiencies in the
range of 70 percent. Developed since 1980, improved technology has cut
particulate emissions (smoke) by about 90 percent compared with
conventional equipment. Wood may not be the best fuel choice in densly
populated urban areas where automobile exhaust and other pollution
already puts excessive strains on the air shed. But in suburban, small town,
and rural areas, wood makes good sense.

Wood contains only a negligable amount of sulphur, an element that leads
to acid rain. In this age of environmental awareness, a big advantage of
wood over the fossil fuels is that its main environmental impact occurs at
the point of use and is visible for all to see. In contrast, the real
environmental impacts of oil and gas are hidden from view because they
occur during extraction, refining and transportation of the fuels to market.


Residential Wood Heating

July 2018

Wood is used in more than 3 million Canadian homes as either a primary or secondary heat source. Woodstoves and fireplaces are not only used for heating purposes but also to create a “comforting and cosy” atmosphere in the home.

However, wood smoke pollutants can reduce the quality of our air and cause breathing difficulties and other health problems even at relatively low levels. In fact, residential wood burning is a major contributor to winter smog. Areas of high use in a residential suburb can result in poorer air quality than in a major city centre such as Montréal (see study).

If the combustion of wood were complete, only carbon dioxide (CO2) and water would be emitted into the air. These conditions, however, are never reached. When wood is burning, the flames appear on one part of the log while smoke arises from several areas. This smoke results from the incomplete combustion of the wood. It contains a mix of hazardous particles and chemicals that are distilled out of the wood or formed during its combustion.

Some of the important pollutants found within wood smoke include:

•Particulate matter
•Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
•Carbon Monoxide (CO)
•Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
•Dioxins and Furans
•Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Also of concern, some of the unburned gases collect on the chimney walls as an oily residue known as creosote. A build-up of creosote can result in an increased risk of chimney fires.

Scientific research and the co-operative efforts between governments and industry have made wood burning appliances safer, less polluting and more efficient.

Still, it’s important to stay informed as residential wood burning is at the centre of much discussion. Changes with regards to this issue may be coming your way soon. As these activities unfold, there are already many things that you can already do to take action and help reduce air pollution from wood heating.

Environment Canada has produced the following videos on good firewood preparation, heating with wood and the EPA-certified woodstove, an improvement in woodstove design:

•Firewood, from the Forest to the Shed

•Wood Stove Operation
•Advanced Woodstove Technology

Checklist for buying a woodstove

June 2018

We have devised the following checklist for you so that, when you come to buying a fireplace, you can be sure of buying the one which suits your requirements best.

Will a Jøtul stove heat my entire home?
The ability of one of our stoves to heat your home depends on many different factors such as; how large your home is, what the R-value of your home is, where the stove will be placed, what sort of floor plan you have, how cold the climate is in your area, what type and quality of wood you burn, and what size Jøtul you’re looking at. Each of our heaters refers to a heating capacity in square feet. This figure is given for an average home in a moderate climate with an open floor plan. You will have to adjust up or down depending on your individual situation. Your Jøtul dealer should be able to help you with this.

Are Jøtul products listed with the UL?
All current Jøtul woodstoves are safety tested and listed to UL standards by Intertek Testing Services (ITS). All current Jøtul gas products are tested and listed to ANSI standards by Intertek Testing Services, and approved by the Massachusetts Plumbers and Gas Fitters. Our Direct vent gas products are also listed to the CAN/CGA standards in Canada, the P.4.1 in British Columbia, and the California Energy Commission.

How important is a good draft?
Draft is a force that exists in a properly designed and functioning chimney system. It pulls air into the combustion chamber and expels smoke and combustion gases from the appliance. The ability for draft to exist depends on many factors: chimney location and height, elbows, horizontal runs, flue size, house construction, house pressurization as well as atmospheric and environmental conditions.

Do I need to have anything under the stove
Floor protection under the stove, must be constructed of a non-combustible material for protection from radiant heat, sparks, and embers. Individual sections of floor protection must be mortared together to prevent sparks from falling through to combustible materials. Any carpeting must be removed from under the floor protection.

Were can I find my local Jøtul dealer?
Visit the find a dealer section of this website to find a dealer near you.

Source : Jotul.com

Buying Firewood? Don’t Get Burned!

May 2018

A cord is equal to 128 cubic feet of firewood. Legal units of measurement for firewood are the cord, fractions of a cord, cubic feet, the stacked cubic metre and fractions of a stacked cubic metre.

Beware of units of measurement that are not recognized in Canada (illegal), You are likely to receive less firewood for your money.

Verify that the quantity of firewood received is the same as the quantity paid for.

If you have any questions or complaints regarding the quantity of firewood received, you may adress Industry Canada.

How Is It Sold?

In Canada, most firewood is sold by the cord. A cord is a legal unit of measurement defined by the Weights and Measures Regulations as “128 cubic feet of stacked roundwood (whole or split, with or without bark) containing wood and airspace with all bolts of similar length piled in a regular manner with their longitudinal axes approximately parallel.”

How Is It Measured?

Follow these steps to ensure that you have received the correct quantity:

Stack the wood neatly in a line or row, ensuring that individual pieces are touching and parallel to each other with as few gaps as possible. Measure the length, width and height of the stack in feet (for example, 4 feet X 8 feet X 4 feet). Multiply these measurements to calculate the volume in cubic feet. If your result is equal to 128 cubic feet, you have a cord.

Which Units of Measurement Are Legal?

Some firewood dealers have been known to use various units of measurement to sell firewood. Some of these units of measurement are legal in Canada and some are not. Beware of terms that are not recognized as legal units of measurement, as they will often mean less than a cord.

Common legal units of measurement used in the sale of firewood: cord, stacked cubic metre, fractions of a cord, fractions of a stacked metre, cubic feet.

Terms that are not recongnized (illegal) for the sale of firewood in Canada: apartment cord, tossed cord, fumance cord, single cord, rack of wood, face cord, short cord, processed cord, bush cord, truckload of wood, pile of wood, stove cord.

How to Protect Yourself

Adhering to the following precautions when purchasing firewood will help ensure that you get what you pay for.

When ordering firewood:

Ask for it to be delivered stacked in the truck so that you can measure it before it is unloaded. If this is not possible, immediately following delivery:

Stack the firewood, measure the length, width and height of the stack, and
calculate the quantity that you received.

When receiving the firewood:

Be present at the time of delivery. Do not rely on a neighbour to accept delivery on your behalf.

Ask for a receipt and verify that it indicates:

the quantity and type of firewood purchased, the seller’s name, address and telephone number; and the price paid. Write down the licence plate number of the delivery vehicle.

Before using any firewood:

Verify that the quantity received is the same as the quantity paid for. If there is a discrepancy, contact the seller before using any of the firewood.

SOURCE: canren.gc.ca

The Future of Residential Wood Heating

April 2018

The demand for environmentally acceptable energy alternatives should ensure that wood heating will play an integral part of our energy mix for the foreseeable future. Many Canadians like you who use renewable energy sources to heat their homes want to make sure that these sources will remain sustainable. As well, they usually support model forest management practices.

Moreover, with more highly efficient combustion technologies in homes – technologies that produce more heat with fewer pollutants – residential wood heating is expected to remain a safe, clean and efficient home-heating option in the future.

Wood stoves have evolved significantly since the late 1980s, and they are now cleaner-burning, easier to use and provide a better environmental performance. As we understand more about efficient wood-burning techniques and the need to reduce smoke emissions, wood heating will be among the methods for improving Canada’s energy security. More Canadian families will enjoy the benefits of advanced, certified clean-burning wood heaters.

Conventional fireplaces, once common in Canadian homes, are declining in popularity. Their low efficiency, high levels of pollution, limited use and often severe functional problems outweigh any claims to aesthetic appeal. In their place, energy-efficient and low-emission wood-burning fireplaces and inserts with their beautiful fire-viewing capabilities will become the accepted standard. These new fireplaces are as practical as they are attractive – something that can’t be said of older, conventional fireplaces.

As the cost of heating homes with fossil fuels and electricity continues to rise, advanced wood burning offers an effective alternative. In the future, more Canadians – especially those living at the urban fringe and beyond – will return to Canada’s original source of fuel.

Installing an advanced technology wood stove, fireplace or insert in the primary living area may reduce the need to directly heat unoccupied parts of our homes. As we better understand the environmental and social costs of energy, the move to renewable, efficient and self-reliant wood will make more sense for many Canadians.

SOURCE: canren.gc.ca

Maintaining Your Wood-Heating System

March 2018

Maintaining your wood-burning system ranges from simple, frequent tasks such as removing and disposing of ashes to more complicated jobs such as replacing parts that have worn from usage and heat stress.

Regular upkeep also helps the system operate efficiently and safely, since one of the most important maintenance tasks is removing combustible deposits from the flue pipe and chimney.

Wood-burning systems operate under a variety of conditions during each heating season, which creates the need for many maintenance tasks. In the spring and fall, heat demand is relatively low. So slow burning may cause creosote to build up in the flue pipe and chimney more rapidly. This is a common problem with conventional wood-burning stoves that can’t burn at low heat outputs without smouldering.

During the colder months, wood-burning systems operate closer to their maximum heat output for long periods, creating stress on internal components. Many modern wood heaters have internal components, including baffles and catalytic combustors that wear out from exposure to high temperatures. Replace these components when necessary.

One of the best ways to ensure that your wood-heating system is safe, clean and effective is to hire a trained, insured and certified chimney sweep to conduct a thorough maintenance check each year. Professional chimney sweeps will clean the entire system and report any problems. They might suggest that it is time to replace the flue pipes, baffles, catalytic combustor (if you have one) or door gaskets – and may even be able to do the work for you when the time comes. Your wood-heating retailer may also offer sweeping and maintenance services.

Summer is a good time to schedule maintenance, before you light the first autumn fire. It can also be done in the spring, following the winter wood- heating season.

Important Maintenance Tasks
Here are the most important maintenance tasks to consider as you look over your wood- heating system.

Clean and Inspect the Chimney and Flue Pipes
Check the chimney and flue pipes regularly until you determine the rate of creosote buildup. Chimney fires usually occur because users don’t know how quickly the deposits develop and neglect to clean them. Check often and clean off the creosote when it is visible and clinging to the liner surface. Dry, flaky deposits are less dangerous than black, shiny creosote. Older or smouldering systems may need cleaning as often as every three weeks.

During a maintenance inspection, check the chimney and flue pipes for signs of deterioration. Check the flue pipes for corrosion that can weaken the joints. Look for corrosion or rust stains on the outer shell of a metal chimney, and check for bulges or corrosion in its inner liner.

When inspecting a masonry chimney, look for black or white stains on the outer bricks and cracks. Look for missing pieces in the chimney liner as well. Locate the clean-out door for the chimney – it is usually in the basement, below the point where the flue pipe enters the chimney (however, in some installations, it is outside the house). Open the clean-out door at the base of the chimney and check for tile fragments and liquid stains. Remove any deposits. Make sure the door is tightly sealed afterwards.

Check the condition of the chimney in hidden spaces – including the attic, wall and chimney chase areas – where corrosion and other deterioration can occur. Do the most thorough cleaning and inspection of the system in the spring, just after the heating season is over. Any deposits left in the system, combined with warm, humid summer air, may corrode the steel parts. Cleaning and inspecting the system in the spring also gives you time to order replacement parts and do any repairs before the heating season begins in the fall. If you see any problems during your cleaning and inspection and aren’t sure how to handle them, have a qualified technician inspect and repair the system before you use it again.

Adjust Door Tension
Many modern wood heaters have adjustment screws on their loading doors. They are designed to keep tension on the door gasket to prevent smoke leakage. These adjustments are usually simple and keep the heater working. Adjust the door, for example, when you see a haze of soot on part of the door glass. You will be able to tell where the leak is from the shape of these streaks of haze.

Replace Door Gaskets and Other Seals
Appliance designers use gaskets to prevent unwanted air from entering the firebox. Leaky gaskets reduce efficiency and may disable the combustion system of an advanced wood burner. Gaskets are located around the loading door, the glass panel and most ash-pan openings. You may need to replace some gaskets as often as once a year; others may be fine after several years of use. Check all gaskets at least once a year during a thorough maintenance inspection and occasionally during the heating season.

Check and Replace Catalytic Combustors
If you have a catalytic stove, you can test the catalytic element’s function by watching the smoke as it exits the chimney top. With a well-established fire burning, open the bypass damper and observe the top of the chimney – you will likely see some smoke. Then close the bypass damper, wait 10 minutes and check the chimney top again. If you still see smoke, remove the catalytic element and check it.

Examine the catalytic combustor and its mount during your maintenance checks. The combustor is fragile, so use a clean, soft paintbrush to remove ash dust. You may see cracks in the honeycomb of the catalyst, but they will not necessarily affect operation. If pieces are missing, replace the catalyst. A leaking bypass damper seal can dramatically increase emissions from a catalytic stove. Therefore, make sure you check the bypass gasket.

The catalyst in a high-efficiency wood stove is certified by the EPA or CSA B415.1 and is usually guaranteed for up to six years. Under heavy use, however, it may last only one to two years. If in doubt about when to replace these parts, ask your hearth products retailer.

Examine Baffle Plates
Components inside the combustion area of advanced wood-burning stoves and fireplaces are exposed to extremely high temperatures and may deteriorate with use. Internal baffles may last as long as 10 years or as little as two, depending on the design and on how you use the appliance.

Internal air channels and tubes may become disconnected or even fall into the firebox. Correct any such change to your stove immediately because performance will suffer and other internal components will likely be damaged.

Maintain Door Glass
The glass door in a modern wood-burner isn’t glass at all, but a transparent ceramic material that can withstand very high temperatures. It is unlikely that the “glass” will break because of heat, but it could be damaged if struck with a hard object. If you need replacement glass, visit the store where you bought your stove or fireplace to get the right size, shape and material.

The door glass will need cleaning periodically – wait until the appliance has cooled before cleaning. A damp cloth or paper towel should remove any ash dust or light brown stains. For darker, more stubborn stains, buy special stove glass cleaner that will not scratch the surface. Check the special gasket around the glass and replace it when it gets worn or leaky.

Many of the new, high-efficiency stoves feature a forced-air mechanism that helps to keep the door glass clean.

Source: Canren.gc.ca

Buying a High-Efficiency Wood-Burning Appliance

February 2018

If you are upgrading your old wood-burning system or are planning to purchase a new wood-burning appliance, you have many options. You might consider a wood stove, a pellet stove or a fireplace, or if your house is large, maybe even a wood furnace.

You should consider size, shape, colour and features. But perhaps the most important decision you will make is whether to step up to one of the new, advanced wood-heating appliances.

New models for wood stoves, fireplaces and fireplace inserts feature improved safety and efficiency. The best choices are appliances labelled for safety by recognized testing and certification agencies. Wood-burning heating appliances should also be certified as low-emission according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, which are accepted in Canada.

Canadian manufacturers have an international reputation as designers of some of the most effective wood-burning appliances in the world. Although these new units usually cost more than older wood burners, there are many reasons why getting a new system is money well spent.

Burn Less Wood
Advanced-combustion high-efficiency wood-burning appliances burn up to a third less wood while generating the same amount of heat, which means savings in labour and costs.

Safer and Less Maintenance
When your chimney is caked with creosote, your risk for chimney fires increases substantially. However, when installed and used correctly, certified clean-burning appliances significantly reduce the risk of chimney fires. Their advanced combustion systems burn the smoke inside the firebox, so less creosote forms in the chimney. As a bonus, you save on chimney-cleaning costs. For conventional systems that need cleaning two or three times each heating season, costs can be significant.

Regardless of the type of wood-burning appliance you purchase, it and its chimney should be professionally installed, and they should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a technician certified under the Wood Energy Technical Training (WETT) program or, in Quebec, by the Association des professionnels du chauffage (APC). These certified installers and chimney sweeps have gone through a rigorous training program that is recognized by the industry and by the Government of Canada.

When replacing your old, inefficient wood-heating appliance, be sure to dismantle it and/or send it to your local recycling facility or ask if your retailer will recycle the appliance in order to prevent it from being used again.

Better for the Environment
Emissions from wood smoke can be reduced – indoors and out – by learning to burn more efficiently and by improving your wood-burning practices. Replacing your existing wood burner with a new-technology appliance that meets EPA and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) emissions standards can help to further reduce the emissions of pollutants by up to 90 percent.

More Convenient to Use
Advanced-combustion wood-burning units produce a more stable fire, so you spend less time fiddling with the controls. Remember the most important rule: Never let the fire smoulder. As long as there is solid wood in the firebox, there should be active flames. Without flames, smoke will escape unburned, reducing efficiency and increasing pollution. With advanced systems, you can achieve a reliable overnight burn while maintaining flaming combustion and still have enough charcoal in the morning to kindle a new fire.

Extending a Fire
To achieve a long-lasting fire that will heat the house overnight or while you are away, rake the coals toward the air inlet and use larger pieces of wood placed compactly in the firebox. Placing the pieces close together prevents the heat and flames from penetrating the load and saves the buried pieces for later in the burn cycle. Fully open the air inlets for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the load and the moisture content of the fuel. When the outer pieces have a thick layer of charcoal, reduce the airflow in stages to the desired level.

With some of the new highly efficient combustion stoves, you may have to alter this procedure slightly. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and experiment. For example, some designs require you to make a channel through the ash pit from front to back, underneath the wood.

Advanced Technology Options

Free-Standing Wood Stoves
New wood-stove models feature improved safety and efficiency. The best choices are appliances labelled by the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or another testing and certification body for safety. They should also be certified to be low-emission according to EPA standards. Smoke is the source of creosote, and older uncertified stoves and fireplaces release 40 to 80 grams of smoke per hour; new EPA-certified stoves produce only 2 to 5 grams of smoke per hour.

High-Efficiency Fireplaces
If you are looking for a new fireplace installation, you can now combine the beauty of a fireplace with the heating power of a wood stove by selecting one of the new factorybuilt fireplaces. Advanced-combustion high-efficiency fireplaces are becoming as effective for space heating as new efficient wood stoves. They use the same internal combustion features to reduce smoke emissions and boost efficiency.

Some models can function as central heating systems, if there are ducts to distribute heated air throughout the house.

Fireplace Inserts
A fireplace insert is like a wood stove but is designed to be installed within the firebox of an existing masonry fireplace. Municipal installation codes now require that a properly sized stainless-steel liner be installed from the insert flue collar to the top of the chimney. The result is better performance and a safer system.

Your new insert should be certified for low emissions, so that you get the full benefits of today’s advanced woodburning technologies.

Pellet Stoves
A pellet stove is a heating appliance that burns wood pellets. Pellet fuel, a renewable resource, is made of compressed wood and other biomass wastes. Most pellet stoves can be easily vented through a wall, unlike log-burning stoves.

EPA-certified pellet stoves are some of the cleanest-burning heating appliances available today and deliver high overall efficiency.

Masonry Heaters
Although it might appear similar to a masonry fireplace, a masonry heater is completely different in design, construction and operation. The core of the heater, consisting of the firebox and heat exchanger, has a series of precast components made of high-temperature brick materials.

Masonry heaters are not low-emissions–certified because most are custom designed and must be built by skilled heater masons to meet the standards found in building codes for conventional fireplaces.

Certified low-emission wood-heating units are not available for the following appliance categories:

– cookstoves
– free-standing fireplaces
– central wood furnaces and boilers
– outdoor boilers

Source: Canren.gc.ca

Choose Nature’s Way: Compost

January 2018

Did you know you can recycle wood ashes? In fact, you can compost them! Here’s what to do with the wood ashes from your fireplace or wood stove to protect the environment.

The Benefits of Backyard Composting

Composting turns kitchen and yard waste into dark, nutrient-rich soil conditioner. If you have a garden, a lawn, trees, shrubs or indoor plants, you can use this conditioner to improve your soil and the plants growing in it.

It’s nature’s way of making a greener garden.

And, it helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste going to landfill sites.

Approximately 30 per cent of the residential Waste going to landfills is made up of kitchen and yard waste. You can do your part to reduce this waste by composting. And, you’ll reduce the need for costly soil conditioners.



Nitrogen-rich green materials:
– fruit and vegetable scraps
– tea bags
– egg shells
– coffee grounds with filter paper
– nut shells
– fresh grass clippings
wood ash from a fireplace or wood stove
– plant trimmings and remains

Carbon-rich brown materials:
– dry leaves
– straw
– sawdust (in very thin layers)
– woodchips

– pet wastes
– charcoal or coal ashes
– meats, bones, fats
– dairy products
– oil or oily foods
– diseased or insect-infected plants
– diapers and sanitary products
– woody yard waste (unless shredded first)
– crab grass


You can compost all year round. The composting process only slows down during the colder months.


Although containers are not essential, they are recommended. An open pile can be unsightly and is more likely to attract pests. There are many different containers to choose from. Your municipality may offer composters at a reduced price. You can buy commercial model from garden centres or build one yourself (the ideal size is between one metre to one and a half square metres (nine to 25 square feet)). You might also want to try vermicomposting.


1. Place your container on level ground where there is good drainage. A sunny spot will speed the process, especially in winter, but is not essential.

2. Add both nitrogen-rich green materials, and carbon-rich brown materials. When adding kitchen scraps or grass, also add some dry leaves. When you rake your leaves in the fall, save several bags to add to your pile during the rest of the year. Chop or shred materials into small pieces to make the composting process go faster.

3. Keep the compost moist but not dripping wet. Use a cover to keep the pile from becoming too wet from rainfall. If it gets too wet, turn and loosen it or add more dry materials such as leaves. If it gets too dry, water it.

4. Provide air to the pile every two or three weeks by turning it with a pitchfork, shovel or an aerating, tool.


When compost is ready to use, it should be dark and crumbly with most of the original identity of the materials lost. You can screen the finished compost to remove materials that have not decomposed completely (such as nut shells or twigs). Return these to the compost pile.

To use finished compost you can.

– dig it into the earth before planting flowers and vegetables
– use it as a mulch or top dressing around plants and trees to help retain moisture, smother weeds and prevent soil compaction
– screen and use it on your lawn or as part of a seed starting mix
– add and stir with equal parts water to make a nutritious “tea” for watering gardens, lawns and pots
– give it to a friend

Source: On.Ec.gc.ca