Wood stoves provide many things: comfort, warmth, nostalgia...and pollution. Not to mention the carcinogenic particulates that worm their way into your lungs and aggravate allergies and asthma.
So what's a chilly homeowner to do? One word: pellets.
Just what is a wood pellet-burning stove, exactly?
Wood pellet burning stoves are relatively new on the market, but have already made a positive impact. Here's the lowdown: pellets are between 3/8 and 1 inch in length, and can be made from compacted sawdust, bark, agricultural waste, as well as biomass fuels like nutshells, corn kernels, and soybeans.
Pellet stoves have tons of advantages over traditional wood-burning stoves. According to the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency Consumer's Guide, many traditional wood-burning appliances emit air pollutants including nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. But pellet stoves are much safer, and don't even require certification by the EPA (though some manufacturers opt for the EPA A-OK, just to be on the safe side).