When the weather outside turns colder, as it has here in Pittsburgh this month, there’s nothing cozier than a warm, crackling fire in your fireplace. A wood-burning fire in your fireplace, however, can cause health problems, especially if you or a family member has a history of asthma.

There are potentially serious adverse health effects when you breathe in smoke from wood fires in your home fireplace. That’s because smoke from these fires contains small particles that can get into your eyes and respiratory system and the result can be a cough, burning eyes, a runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.

Among these particles are fine particles, which are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, and these fine particles can affect your lungs. Wood smoke can also contain several toxic substances such as benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein and methane.

Natural gas logs do not contain these indoor air pollutants or emit those fine particles. Natural gas is a much safer alternative for your fireplace in terms of indoor air pollution and the health of your lungs.

Pittsburgh Gas Grill and Heater Company has been helping Pittsburgh-area homeowners convert their traditional wood burning fireplaces into high efficiency natural gas log burning fireplaces since 1986.