Cleaner burning appliances

Convert to a cleaner burning appliance. All new wood-burning room heaters and central heaters sold and installed are now required to meet EPA certification standards. As a consumer, it pays to check and compare the listed emissions of stoves that you are considering; often the lowest-polluting appliance is also the most efficient, meaning that they provide more heat per cord of wood. List of EPA-certified wood stoves. EPA maintains the current lists of EPA-certified wood-burning room heater models such as woodstoves, fireplace inserts and heating fireplaces and for central heaters such as hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces.

A properly installed, correctly used woodstove should not release smoke in your house, nor should the smoke impact your neighbors.  It is important to use a good quality U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified wood-burning appliance that is properly installed and vented.

Replace old, dirty wood heating appliances

Appliances are getting cleaner. Consider replacing your woodstove if it is currently in use and manufactured before 1988.  Most woodstoves manufactured since 1988 must be EPA-certified to meet air pollution standards. Besides emitting less particulate matter pollution, an EPA-certified woodstove uses one-third less wood than older stoves to produce the same heat. This improved efficiency means a cord of wood will go farther, and you will spend less time chopping and re-loading your stove. And EPA-certified woodstoves emit 50 percent to 60 percent less air pollution. Just as furnaces or water-heaters have a range of efficiency, so do wood stoves. Gas-burning appliances are the most efficient and cleanest. Wood-pellet stoves tend to be the most efficient and cleanest burning wood-burning appliances. The worst polluting wood-burning appliances are fireplaces and outdoor wood boilers. 

Source

PM 2.5 pounds/million BTU heat output

Fireplaces 

28

Uncertified wood stove

4.6

EPA-certified wood stove

1.4

Pellet stove

0.49

Oil furnace 

0.013

Gas furnace

0.0083

Change out incentive programs can help defray the cost of replacing existing wood heating appliances in parts of Minnesota.  

Before you buy: Conduct a Home Energy Audit

When evaluating heating appliances, it is important to consider overall heating demand. Consider conducting a home energy audit before investing in any heating equipment.  A home energy audit and weatherizing of your home will help ensure that you are not losing energy through windows, doors, cracks or poor insulation. 

Making energy-related improvements to your home will save energy, money and can help make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.  Home energy audits can provide free installation of materials such as programmable or smart thermostats and door and attic hatch weather stripping, in addition to LED light bulbs, water heater insulation and low flow showerheads. 

Check with your electricity or natural gas utility about their services. Programs also have no cost options for income-qualified participants.                                 

Federal standards revised in 2015 are bringing cleaner wood heating appliances to the market.  Wood burning appliances will become cleaner as the federal standard tightens by 2020.  To buy the cleanest stove, look for the permanent labels that say the stove is certified to meet 2020 federal emission standards, as there are some that already meet the standard.

And while new EPA-certified wood stoves, fireplace inserts, built-in fireplaces, furnaces and wood boilers are much cleaner than uncertified wood heating appliances, they still produce more than 100 times more harmful fine particle pollution than a gas furnace for the same amount of heat.  Consider if you can use natural gas or propane to fuel your heating appliance.

When purchasing a new wood-burning appliance

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