Did you know that burning wood emits pollutants - particles and chemicals - into the atmosphere?

gaz fireplace

Did you know that burning wood emits pollutants - particles and chemicals - into the atmosphere? The harmful health effects of these fine particles are numerous and are felt mostly by children, the elderly, and people who suffer from cardiopulmonary disease.

Wood smoke has been identified by Environment Canada as a source of winter air pollution. Wood burning constitutes a major contributor to winter smog and aggravation of cardiac and respiratory illnesses.

Statistics and facts on wood heating:

  • Fine particles are harmful to health because they penetrate deep into the lungs and seep into the bloodstream, affecting the cardiovascular system
  • It is estimated that a conventional woodstove or fireplace burning for only 9 hours emits as many fine particles as a car does in one year (18,000 km of driving)
  • Residential wood heating is the main source of fine particles in Quebec, ahead of both transportation and industry;
  • More than 85,000 homes on the island of Montreal are equipped with a woodstove or fireplace – the majority of which do not comply with current standards.



Wood smoke has been identified by Environment Canada as a significant source of winter air pollution. Burning wood in a conventional fireplace simply to watch the fire may be pleasant, but is polluting. Inefficient wood stoves and fireplaces can be a fire hazard. Dark or smelly smoke drifting from your chimney means wood is not burning completely.

If you wish to replace your fireplace or wood-stove:

  • Gas, pellet and electric devices are excellent ecological choices.
  • The City of Beaconsfield also allows the replacement of existing wood-burning equipment with wood-burning equipment recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (US Environmental protection Agency, or EPA), provided that the emission rate of the equipment does not exceed 2.5 grams per hour of fine particles in the atmosphere (By-law BEAC-046, article 3.2.5).

Before burning wood, think about the health of your neighbours: the smoke and harmful particles caused by your wood stove can seep into nearby homes.

For more information on this topic, visit the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques website at environnement.gouv.qc.ca

Here are some tips on burning wisely:
Burn only clean, well seasoned wood that has been split and dried properly; don't burn garbage, plastics, particleboard, plywood or any other painted or treated wood, these release toxic chemicals and can cause a build-up of creosote;

If your fire smoulders, split the wood into smaller pieces and use more pieces each time you load;

Never turn the air control down so much that the fire smoulders. Wood should be flaming brightly until it is reduced to charcoal.

As you learn to burn without smoke, check your chimney frequently for visible smoke. If you see smoke, change your fuel or burning practices so that no smoke is visible while the stove or fireplace is in operation.

For more information, see the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks website

Did you know that burning wood emits pollutants - particles and chemicals - into the atmosphere?