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Clean burning wood stoves and fireplaces

Posted Thursday, September 15, 2005

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Wood Stoves

The traditional pot-bellied stove is a thing of the past - today’s wood stove models feature improved safety and efficiency. They produce almost no smoke, minimal ash, and require less firewood, They can be sized to heat a family room, a small cottage, or a full-sized home. The best choices are appliances labeled by the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or another testing and certification body for safety. They should also be certified to be low-emission according to EPA standards. While older uncertified stoves and fireplaces release 40 to 60 grams of smoke per hour; new EPA-certified stoves produce only 2 to 5 grams of smoke per hour. For technical details on wood stoves, see Technical Information.

EPA certified wood stoves burn more cleanly and efficiently, save you money, reduce the risk of fire, and improve air quality inside and outside your home.

EPA certified wood stoves come in different sizes:

* Small stoves are suitable for heating a family room or a seasonal cottage. For larger homes with older central furnaces, consider "zone heating" a specific area of your home (family or living room) with a small stove. This can reduce fuel consumption, conserve energy and save you dollars while maintaining comfort.
* Medium stoves are suitable for heating small houses, medium-sized energy-efficient houses, and cottages used in winter.
* Large stoves are suitable for larger, open plan houses or older, leakier houses in colder climate zones.

Talk with experienced wood stove retailers who know the performance characteristics of the products they sell. When visiting local retailers, take along a floor plan of your home. Knowledgeable retailers can help you find a wood stove that is well suited to the space you want to heat.

Pellet Stoves

Instead of logs, pellet stoves burn a renewable fuel made of ground, dried wood and other biomass wastes compressed into pellets. They are some of the cleanest-burning heating appliances available today and deliver high overall efficiency. Because they pollute so little, pellet stoves do not require EPA certification; some manufacturers, however, voluntarily seek this certification. Unlike wood stoves and fireplaces, most pellet stoves need electricity to operate, and can be easily vented through a wall, unlike log-burning stoves.

Gas Stoves

Gas stoves are designed to burn either natural gas or propane. They emit very little pollution, require little maintenance, and can be installed almost anywhere in the home. Today’s gas stoves feature large, dancing yellow flames and glowing red embers that are nearly identical in appearance to a wood fire. They can be vented through an existing chimney, or direct vented through the wall behind the stove. While some models do not require outside venting, EPA does not support their use due to indoor air quality concerns.

Fireplace Inserts

If you rely on your fireplace for added warmth on cold days, consider a fireplace insert. They are similar in function and performance to free-standing stoves, but are designed to be installed within the firebox of an existing masonry or meal fireplace. Municipal installation codes now require that a properly sized stainless-steel liner be installed from the insert flue collar to the top of the chimney. The result is better performance and a safer system. You can choose from inserts that burn wood, pellets, or gas that provide the same safe efficiency as their stove counterparts. EPA certified wood and pellet burning inserts are available. Some fireplace inserts include state-of-the-art features such as fans and thermostatic controls (depending on the fuel).

Decorative Fireplace Gas Logs

If you have an existing fireplace but seldom use it – or use it more for aesthetics than heating, you may want to consider installing a set of decorative gas logs. While not designed to be a significant source of heat, decorative logs provide dramatic realism, from the lifelike ceramic fiber, concrete or refractory logs down to the glowing embers. Because they burn either natural gas or propane, they also have low emissions.

Finding the Right Size and Model—Talk to a Professional

Wood stoves come in different sizes:

* Small stoves are suitable for heating a family room or a seasonal cottage. In larger homes with older central furnaces, you can use a small stove for "zone heating" a specific area of your home (family or living room). This can reduce fuel consumption, conserve energy and save you dollars while maintaining comfort.
* Medium stoves are suitable for heating small houses, medium-sized energy-efficient houses, and cottages used in winter.
* Large stoves are suitable for larger, open plan houses or older, leakier houses in colder climate zones.

In addition, fireplace inserts also come in various sizes.

Talk with experienced hearth product retailers who know the performance characteristics of the products they sell. When visiting local retailers, take along a floor plan of your home. Knowledgable retailers can help you find a wood stove, fireplace insert, or other hearth product that is well suited to the space you want to heat.

 
Related info:
EPA
e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page
 
 
 
Clean burning wood stoves and fireplaces

Related info:
EPA
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