Welcome to the web site of Black Cat Chimney Sweeps

Black Cat is committed to promoting the responsible use of wood as a heat source, and to educating the public on issues of wood heating.

We are specialists in the wood heating industry. From installing high efficiency wood stoves and fireplaces with custom finishing in stone, to maintaining wood heating systems in good running order, we do it all.

HEATING WITH WOOD

woodpileIt has been stated that the greatest challenge of our time is the threat of global warming. News broadcasts regularly inform us of the melting ice levels in the arctic, and it seems this process is speeding up at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the response of politicians and big industry is glacially slow. It is generally agreed that the use of fossil fuels is the main culprit in the rising temperatures of our planet, however our way of life is heavily dependent on these fuels, extricating our selves from this addiction is going to be no easy task.

Natural sources of energy like solar and wind have the least impact on the environment.

Through the cycle of photosynthesis trees (like all vegetation) absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. Approximately half the weight of dry wood is this absorbed carbon. When a tree dies it releases it’s carbon in to the air as carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide that is released is the same if the tree lies on the forest floor or if it is burned in your stove. This is not true for fossil fuels that release carbon that if untapped, would stay buried beneath the ground. Our forests are more than an economic resource, they are vital to the very air we breathe.

Wood is essentially a stored source of solar energy, healthy forests that are cared for have only a positive effect on the planet, but wait, wood burning does have negative aspects too. Smoke from wood fires is actually the un-burnt particles, and is full of pollutants. In the 1980’s after the increasing popularity of wood stoves, governments began to be alarmed by the increase in “particulate” emissions from these sources. Manufacturers were forced to improve the technology in the design of stoves, and this led to what we refer to today as “high efficiency” stoves. These stoves and fireplaces when used properly, can reduce particulate emissions by up to 85%. 

In a sense this has been a revolution in wood burning, and legislators are starting to respond positively. For example the state of Oregon which was at the cutting edge of passing legislation on wood stove emissions some twenty years ago, has now brought in tax credits for the purchase of wood and pellet appliances, and on the purchase of wood and pellet fuel as well as other renewable fuels. The U.S. federal government is now providing a $1500 tax credit for the purchase of a high efficiency wood or pellet stove, specifically to move people away from fossil fuels. The province of Quebec has also provided a $300 rebate when trading in a slow combustion stove for a high efficiency one. Times have changed, and wood energy is now beginning to be encouraged as a viable source of renewable energy.

So, on the one hand wood burning does not disrupt the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere, but then some pollutants are emitted that can be negative to human health, ( although considerably less with more efficient stoves ). Is wood heating a good choice then if we are to be conscientious about how we use resources? We think it is. Wood heating is not for everybody after all. It is labour intensive, and not for those who want flick of the switch convenience. It will always be used by a relatively small proportion of the population, and so forest depletion is highly unlikely. In the long run, as consumers, we can have an impact on the way wood is harvested, and promote good forest stewardship.

The next time you see a chimney with a lot of smoke spilling out, you can be sure that they still have some old style clunker of a stove, and are probably burning wet wood too. A properly functioning fire in a well installed system produces very little smoke, and in fact when viewed from outside the house, it may seem that there is only hot air coming out of the chimney. You might well pass by a house where the family is enjoying a fire in their high efficiency wood stove, and not even notice that they have a fire on at all.

Links for further information

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Chimney Cleaning in Lapeche QC

Wood Heat Organization Inc.
Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc.
Association des professionnels du chauffage
Heat Green Council
Masonry Heater Association of North America
Sustainable Ottawa

Black Cat Chimney Sweeps is certified under
        Wood Energy Technical Training
        Association des professionnels du chauffage

Black Cat Chimney Sweeps is a member of the HEAT GREEN COUNCIL

© 2009 Black Cat Chimney Sweeps
Email: blackcatchimney@gmail.com