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Updated: September 2020

Takoma Park Wood Burning and Wood Smoke Survey

This was an online survey conducted in May and June, 2011 and was mainly distributed through various local Takoma Park email list serves and by word of mouth. The email subject line usually said "Please take 4-minute survey on wood heat and wood smoke in Takoma Park" or some variation of that. As a result, we expect that it was more likely to attract people who heated with wood, pellets or corn, or used their fireplace, or people who really don't like wood or corn smoke. Statistics regarding the habits of households heating with wood, pellets, and corn as well as local opinions and attitudes towards these issues are valuable, though not statistically objective in any way. Open-ended responses and comments were encouraged throughout the survey. If a number of responses seemed to form a trend, then excerpts or summarized versions are included below. Next steps include gathering info from a public meeting about what should be done in the community.

Key Statistics:

Number of Surveys Taken: 218

Number of Wood/Corn/Pellet Stove Users: 60

Number of Fireplace Owners: 117

Number of Fireplaces in Use: 71

I.Burning Habits

A. Wood/pellet/corn stoves
  1. Is your stove EPA Certified? Yes: 51% (26); No 28% (14); Don't Know 22% (11)

  2. How often did you use your stove last winter? Every day: 48% Several Times per week: 28% (18); Once a week: 8% (5); Less than once per week: 16% (10)

  3. What percent of your space heating does your stove meet? Average of compiled responses: 52%

  4. I have me chimney/flue cleaned every _____ years. Median Value: 2 years

  5. Reasons for wood/corn/pellet heating (choose all that apply) Reduce fossil fuel use: 82% (51); I like the ambiance: 73% (45); Save money: 73 % (45); Fight global warming: 68% (42); Keep fuel dollars local: 52% (32)


  1. How often did you use your fireplace last winter? Nearly every day: 5% (6) Once or twice a week: 21% (25) Once or twice a month: 19% (22) Once or twice all winter 17 % (20) Never: 39% (46)

  2. Do you have glass doors on your fireplace? Yes: 45% (54) No: 55% (65)

  3. If you don't have glass doors, do you close the flue the day after you make a fire? Always:66% (45) Sometimes:21% (14) Rarely:13.2% (9)

  1. Where do you get your firewood? (select all that apply) Collect and split myself: 71% (31) From a dealer: 41% (18) Purchase bundles from the store: 11% (5) Other: (14)

  2. How do you store your firewood? Covered: 60% (29) Uncovered: 54% (26)

  3. How many months do you typically season your wood (let it dry) before use? Median Value: 12 months

  4. Do you feel you have had a good experience buying wood that is advertised seasoned and is a full cord? Yes: 57% (16) No: 43% (12)

II.Burning Opinions

  1. How do you feel about the smell of firewood burning in your Takoma Park Neighborhood? Don’t notice it: 9% (19) Like it: 58% (120) Sometimes like it: 24% (49) Don’t like it: 9% (18)

  2. Do you feel that woodsmoke in your neighborhood is…Too prevalent: 7% (14) Within reasonable limits: 35% (72) Not a problem at all: 58% (120)

  3. Does anyone in you home have asthma or heart disease? Yes: 19 % (38) No: 81% (161)

  1. Do you believe that using trees from storm damage or natural mortality to heat homes in Takoma Park is a good way to reduce fossil fuel heating? Yes: 68% (140) No: 10% (20) Unsure: 22% (40)

  1. In an effort to reduce wood smoke, would you support a voluntary Takoma Park ordinance that encourages residents to only burn dry, untreated firewood, and keep their firewood covered? Yes: 50% (99) No: 19% (37) Maybe: 32% (63)

  2. Would you support a policy in Takoma Park that only EPA certified wood and pellet/corn stoves can be installed? Yes, make it mandatory: 46% (87) Yes, but make it voluntary: 41% (79) No: 13% (25)

  3. In 2009-2010 there was a federal tax credit for high efficiency wood and pellet stoves worth 30% of the cost up to $1,500. Choose all that apply: I was aware of the tax credit: 40% (77) I purchased a stove with the credit: 6% (12) I was not aware: 54% (105) I wasn’t interested: 22% (42)

  4. If Maryland had a rebate program to pay for 30% of an ultra-clean stove, would you consider... Buying one: 37% (67) Upgrading to one: 13% (24) Switching from wood to pellets/corn: 2% (4) Depends on fossil fuel price: 10% (18) Wouldn’t be interested: 43% (77)

  5. Do you think that modern, EPA certified biomass stoves should be eligible for a Maryland rebate like solar, geothermal, and wind systems are? Wood Stoves: 5% (9) Pellet/corn Stoves: 16% (27) Both: 60% (103) Neither: 19% (33)

Opinions of wood/pellet/corn stove-users (60 homes) vs. non-stove users (158 Homes)
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