Monday, December 18, 2006

150,000 Homemade Smog Producers

According to estimates by scientists, the number of outdoor home wood boilers has doubled in the US. A total of 150,000 US homes now utilize the boilers to cut their energy bills.

Here is an excerpt from an article in the New York Times,

A report last year by the New York attorney general’s office found that they produce as much particle pollution in an hour as 45 cars or 2 heavy-duty diesel trucks.

While boilers can save money for owners with access to cheap wood, they are far more expensive to operate in suburban areas like Long Island, where a cord of wood can cost $170. A boiler can require more than a dozen cords for the winter. That cost, says Jack Eddington, a Suffolk County legislator who introduced the law restricting the boilers, leads people to resort to burning garbage, old furniture and even Christmas trees — resulting in larger, smellier and potentially more toxic smoke.

Mr. Eddington said he knew of people who collected trash solely for their boilers. “Sometimes that would make the smell worse than the smoke,” he said. “It’s not a cost-saving measure if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use only seasoned wood — meaning no sap or anything that could give out a bad toxic emission. The only way you can save money with these things is if you burn anything and everything.”
Use of the boilers is strictly regulated in Connecticut and a few other states and municipalities.
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