New wood-stove emission standards in effect in Minnesota

Contact: Ralph Pribble, 651-757-2657

Shopping for a new wood stove? Remember that new stoves and outdoor boilers must be certified to new 2020 emission standards to be sold or installed in Minnesota.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted regulations for wood-burning appliances in 2015 that gave manufacturers five years to get their products certified to meet the new, stricter emissions standards. The standards had two “steps”— an initial standard for 2015 and the tighter one that took effect in May 2020.  (The standards don’t affect fireplaces or wood heating systems already in use.)

The EPA is delaying enforcement of the new requirements while it debates changing the compliance deadline. But Minnesota’s own state law, which requires compliance with the new emission standards, also took effect in May. Regardless of what the EPA does, Minnesota’s compliance deadline for 2020 certification will not change, meaning that residents shopping for new stoves this fall should look for proof of certification. 

As of May 2020 in Minnesota:

  • Only units that are 2020-certified by the manufacturer can be advertised, offered for sale, sold, or installed. Dealers selling models that aren’t certified are violating the law.
  • All 2020-certified units must have an approved, permanent label that is visible when installed.

Wood smoke is a significant source of fine-particle pollution, which is harmful to human health. Minnesota, with EPA’s backing, has been a leader in helping to reduce these health effects by requiring manufacturers of wood-burning stoves and boilers to produce more efficient products that emit less pollution.

Some facts about wood burning in Minnesota:*

  • Minnesotans burn about 1.45 million cords of wood in a year, enough to completely fill U.S. Bank Stadium.
  • Nearly half of Minnesota households burn wood in either a heating appliance or recreational fires.
  • There are an estimated 288,000 wood-burning units such as stoves, furnaces, and boilers in the state. About a third of them are pre-1989, which pollute much more than those certified to the 2020 standard.
  • About 7 percent of households burn wood for primary heat; 46 percent of wood burned in Minnesota is for primary heat.

*From Minnesota residential wood combustion survey results (May 2019)

​See the MPCA web site and the EPA web site for more information on wood burning.