Vermonters can now check out a moisture meter from their local library for free thanks to a new loan program from the Vermont Departments of Environmental Conservation and Libraries. The moisture meters are available at 50 public libraries across the State.
"When I heard of the Wood Moisture Meter program, I wondered if there would be interest in our community. We've been adding non-traditional items to the library's collection for the past couple of years, but I wanted to know if it would get used," said Almy Landauer, Director of the Waterbury Public Library. "I put the question out on Front Porch Forum and was delighted to receive about 25 replies from people who said they would really like to use it. It's now in our collection with a long wait list."
Borrowers can use the small hand-held meters to test firewood at home to make sure it is dry enough to burn safely and efficiently. Burning firewood that has not been dried properly makes it more expensive to heat a home and causes poor air quality.
"Making sure that your firewood is sufficiently dry protects you and your family's health and cuts down on the amount of money you'll spend on firewood. Checking the moisture content in your wood is an important step in making sure firewood is cut, stored and aged properly. Seasoned wood burns hotter and reduces fuel consumption," said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Peter Walke.
It is recommended to only burn wood with a moisture content of 20 percent or less. If moisture levels are higher than 20 percent, firewood does not burn as efficiently, which produces more smoke and harmful emissions. Poor air quality from wood smoke increases people's exposure to fine particulate matter and several toxic air pollutants that may trigger adverse cardiac and respiratory effects.
To find more information about this program, including a list of participating libraries, visit DEC's Wood Burning page. Learn more about the best wood burning practices at EPA Burn Wise website or AQCD Wood Burning.