Fire, perhaps the most useful and well utilized invention of man, has been used for ages now, to prepare meals, keep warm and stay away from wild intruders. Although all these are still done today the means to do so have changed with the advancing technologies. Some homes still have the traditional fireplaces to keep themselves warm. Many homes generally have three major ways of generating heat to keep warm. The major being electricity, secondly gas and lastly fire. Firewood still maintains popularity even today because it’s easy to obtain and use. Similarly electricity too can be utilized by the simple snap of a switch.
The gas as a utility has become a major way of keeping warm for many these days. Gas is supplied to homes through a series of underground pipes which are served by the gas utility company. The customer is billed on a monthly basis for the gas which is exactly similar to phone or electricity bills. A gas heater is a device that is either purchased or is preinstalled in a home and which has a burner that when lit, using a gently and steady stream of gas, lights and warms the home using a technology called radiant heat. Radiant heat is a method of heating where the heat is spread over a wider block of air and in a more consistent manner. On the other hand firewood uses a conventional method to generate heat, where the flame heats the immediate block of air right above which in turn heats the next one and so forth. Heat is thus spread this way.
Firewood heaters and gas heaters have led to many debates between environmentalists. There is a strong oppose to firewood heaters because they lead to deforestation. The results of deforestation are known far and wide. Cutting of trees results in loss of natural habitation to animals. It also interferes with water reservoirs and leads to global warming.
Smoke from firewood heaters cause pollution into the atmosphere. The long term health hazards of pollution are already a matter of serious debate the world over. Air pollution can lead to a variety of respiratory diseases and eventually death. Firewood heaters have also become a target of ridicule among many politicians, scientists and environmentalists.
Gas heaters on the other hand give off little or no smoke. This contributes to a cleaner atmosphere and a better quality of air. Natural gas comes from the ground and its mining does not interfere in any way form or fashion with the global ecosystems and water catchments areas. Environmentalists are therefore supporting the use of gas heaters which do not pose a threat to the environment as compared to traditional firewood heaters. This is because the ratio of cutting trees is much higher than planting them, which has resulting into deforestation and the serious issue of global warming. Also changes in sea level, extinction of certain animal species due to the disappearance of their natural homes and lesser oxygen in the air are also a matter of concern today.