Author – Dave Hannah
As we begin the month of July, our thoughts about celebrating the 4th of July include activities with friends and family over the first long holiday weekend of the summer and, remembering those fifty-six men who risked their lives and fortunes to stand up to a tyrannical king and, who signed the Declaration of Independence document which forged the birth of our country.
Most Americans are happy to have the time off from work to enjoy this holiday.
Unless they have children in school studying the Revolutionary War, most people today spend little or no time reflecting on the true meaning of American Independence. But take a moment and imagine what it would be like to have someone telling you what to do, where and how to live, what you should wear, what you should eat, and where you should send your children to school, how you should heat your home and more.
You say wait a minute, this is a free country and, you can’t do that! But, before the Declaration of Independence, it wasn’t a free country. Sadly, many Americans may take these freedoms for granted.
Some of us are old enough to remember the energy crisis of the 1970’s that began with an oil embargo causing energy prices to quadruple overnight. It was this sudden increase in the cost to heat our homes that lead to a resurgence of woodburning and by extension, the chimney service and hearth product industry in America.
Recent events in history have impacted a similar explosion in the need to return to woodburning. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau, wood heat is now the largest increase in a home heating fuel source. The winter of 2013 was one of the coldest in recent years. The price of home heating oil and gas has more than doubled over the last few years and homeowners have found a new love for their wood and pellet stoves.
While this shift to woodburning has chimney professionals working overtime to service all these new homeowners, the EPA has other plans to damper down some of the enthusiasm for burning wood as a supplement toward home heating.
While wood remains one of the best renewable fuel sources for heating our homes, the older model stoves produce more emissions and pollution that result in a reduction of air quality. The new technology EPA Certified Stoves are cleaner burning and less polluting. Older stoves should be swapped out for these better performing models and this will go a long way toward preserving and protecting woodburning.
However, if the EPA persists in demanding the manufacturers of wood and pellet stoves re-tool and build even less emission stoves than current EPA Certified Stoves, each coming with an increased cost to homeowners, many will be forced to keep burning those old smoke dragons which are the real problem with smoke pollution.
American homeowners love their independence from the increasing cost of foreign oil and gas.
Our hearth product and chimney service industries can support the new demand for clean burning, renewable wood heat, if the public will join us and stand up for our low cost heating liberties by continuing to burn wood responsibly and, when a town hall meeting of your congressional representative comes to your town, tell them you support the Woodstove Regulatory Relief Act of 2014.
This act allows for cleaner burning without increasing the cost of wood and pellet stoves. Call a Certified Chimney Sweep or a National Fireplace Institute Member hearth professional and find out how you can work together to protect and preserve our woodburning independence.
Make your July celebration a safe and enjoyable time with your family and friends. But, remember those fifty six men who put everything on the line for our country’s independence.
Make an effort to learn good woodburning habits such as using dry wood, which has been stacked and covered, so it will be ready for your fall heating needs.
Keep America free for all to enjoy liberty by demanding our independence from the high cost of oil and gas heating.
~ Dave Hannah