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New EPA-Certified Wood Stoves Burn Cleaner

Consider these points when replacing your old wood stove.

Relative Emissions of Fine Particles

Smoke from residential wood heaters contains fine particle pollution (PM) and other pollutants such as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and benzene. Fortunately, newer, EPA-certified units burn much cleaner and are far more efficient.

The EPA first set emissions standards for wood heaters in 1988. In 2015, the EPA strengthened these standards. The new  limit for particulates emissions for catalytic and non-catalytic wood heaters is 4.5 grams per hour (g/h). In five years, the limit will drop to 2.5 g/h. The rule does not affect existing woodstoves.

If you are thinking about replacing your old stove, here are a few points to consider:

  • You can expect to use up to one-third less firewood with a new EPA-certified wood stove compared to an older, less efficient stove.
  • Newer, more efficient stoves burn cleaner, reducing creosote buildup and the risk of chimney fires.
    Some regions host change-out programs and offer incentives for swapping out your old stove for a certified unit.
  • Some new certified stoves exceed EPA standards and produce emissions in the 1 to 4 g/h range.
    Pellet stoves, which utilize compressed pellets made from wood or biomass for fuel, are among the cleanest-burning stoves on the market.
  • Gas and gas fireplace inserts, which do not require EPA certification, burn cleanly and produce few emissions.

Visit the EPA's Burn Wise page to learn more.

Editor's Note: Under the Trump administration's anti-regulatory agenda, the use of dangerous and highly polluting older wood stoves has been given a green light under certain scenarios--notably, where First Nation peoples are involved. Read about how older woodstoves are being pushed to Navajo tribes.