This is another episode of Alternative Heating & Supplies' tips and in this blog post, we are going to talk about the new EPA regulations and wood furnace laws
EPA Certified Furnaces
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.
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.
Wood Furnace Law
Regarding Wood Furnace Law, please be sure to check your local ordinances. Wood Furnace Laws can vary, so be sure to check.
What if there were a way to heat your home, give you all the hot water you need for baths, showers, laundry and more, heat your pool, spa, and anything else you wanted to keep warm with a truly efficient and renewable resource? What if you could help the environment while you were heating your home? What if you could do all this for FREE?
It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But there is a resource that fits all of these specifications. It’s right in your backyard or down the road. Wood.
Now you’re saying, “But that’s old-fashioned and inefficient. Hey, and it’s a lot of work. And it’s dirty too!”
Not true. Wood heating has come of age. The modern exterior wood furnace takes advantage of the latest developments in heating technology. Set up outside your home, and using water and heat exchangers, our furnace burns cleanly and efficiently. In most cases, it can be connected to your existing system to distribute the heat.
Because all your fuel is kept outside, you won’t have the mess associated with indoor stoves. The unit will burn all sizes and types of wood, too…even those unsplittable knotty pieces. And the best part is you only have to feed it once or twice a day – even in the coldest weather. Load it up in the morning and evening, and the unit will do the rest. Water heated to 185 to 200 degrees surrounds the firebox, then it courses through tubing to your home where heat exchangers convert it to hot air which is dispersed by your existing system.
Coal, gas, and oil are fossil-based, non-renewable resources. And in the last year, costs for these commodities have soared. Electricity prices are also climbing.
The environmental impact of these fuels is also a factor that must be considered. The methods used to extract fossil fuels are damaging. Home systems, unless they are constantly and professionally maintained, are not efficient burners. Electricity is often produced by coal-fueled plants or by hydroelectric dams that affect our fragile ecosystems.
There is no other source of warming your home that gives you all the advantages of a timber-fueled system. It’s environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and efficient. And with a little extra work, you can get all this for free. This is an energy source that grows virtually everywhere. The property is constantly being cleared and the leavings are perfect for your use. Haul it home and you and your family are warm all winter for the cost of a tank of gas.
Our company prides itself on bringing you the latest innovations in this technology, along with full-service parts and accessories. We have years of experience and can advise you on choosing the right equipment for your home.
So what are you waiting for? Call us! Let's about heating our homes with alternative fuels.
New EPA Regulations for Wood Burning Stoves in 2015
Our fine EPA has decided to focus their new regulations on residential wood heaters, and the key word here is "residential." They're not worried as much focusing on the commercial or industrial aspect of this, they're more focused on you, and us, homeowners heating their homes with alternative options. So this is the impact that we're going to face the most.
Stop Building Residential Units
Now as of May 1st of 2015, the manufacturers have to stop building residential units. Then they have to get them out to their dealers by that date as well.
Once the dealers have them, the dealers have until December 31st, 2015, to sell off any existing inventory of the residential units to their customers.
Now, and let me mark the keywords here, while they are in stock.
So for example, if I get 10 units, residential units, or 20 units, let's say, or realistically 40. I get these 40 units in before May 1st, 2015, if I sell them by June, that's all I got. I can't get them anymore, WoodMaster will not sell them to me or they will be breaking the law with the EPA. So don't procrastinate, residential people. If you want a unit, get it while they're in stock. Once they're gone, they're gone, okay?
We have until December 31st to sell them, I don't think we're going to need to go that far because everybody's gonna want them once they get this big, concerning new law.
Building for Commercial Use Only
There is, after May 1st, the manufacturers can continue to build these same exact units for commercial use only, okay? Now, that means you can use it for greenhouses, businesses, industrial, anything that has a commercial rating, not your residential.
So if you have an industrial or a commercial application, you can still get these and this is gonna go on for quite a while. As far as we know, we don't have any rules or regulations coming down telling us that commercial use is not gonna be allowed, so we don't see any end to that.
BTU Size Restrictions
There is also no BTU size restrictions that the EPA has put on us for the industrial. We expected them to come out with a 250,000 BTU limit on them or something like that, but they did not.
So we'll be building the exact same units for commercial use only. And when you're coming into your local dealers, your local dealers are going to probably ask you to sign a form identifying that we have made you aware that it is for commercial use only and do not use it for residential, to relieve the dealers of any kind of penalties that might come down from our EPA or our government, punishing us for where the customer decides to put the unit, a.k.a. the residence.
Building Regulations Application
So this will only apply, this only applies to non-EPA certified units. The new EPA certification units are not part of this, they already have met the EPA standards, so it does not apply. These are for the traditional outdoor wood boilers. The traditional outdoor wood boilers, compared to the EPA certified boilers that exist today, are a much easier unit to work with. They're usually a lot less money, the EPA regulations that are applied to these new units have asked and demanded certain things to happen which cost a lot more research, a lot more testing, and overall comes back to the customers, being a considerably more expensive unit.
Residential Wood Heaters Efficiency
The efficiency on them even though from my experience, even though a lot of these companies are telling you that they're dramatically more efficient, I have not noticed that. I have burned many of these units and I have not seen a considerable efficiency, it is a single digit at best efficiency difference. There is considerable more maintenance to the EPA certified units, and there is considerably more feeding that needs to be done to these units. On top of being more expensive, basically, comes down to is that there's a lot more maintenance than needs to go on, and you have to feed it more often.
EPA Standards by Category
Hydronic Heaters EPA Regulations
The EPA regulations have been broken down into three categories. Our category, and especially my category, is hydronic heaters, that's basically referring to a wood boiler, indoor or outdoor it's hydronic. Now the step one of these new rules, I have asked us to go to step one which is a .32. Now the current EPA certified units are at a .32 pounds per million BTU.
By step two, which is five years from now, the new regulations are going to require all EPA certified units to go down to .10, that is three times cleaner than the current ones over the next five years. Yes, that's gonna be hard to obtain, it is difficult, there is only one unit on the market right now that is able to meet this new EPA standard, is a Flex Fuel by WoodMaster, it's the only unit to come to that standard.
Wood and Pellet Stoves EPA Regulations
The other category is wood and pellet stoves, and you're probably thinking, yes it is the indoor wood stoves, you are also in this bill, they are also tightening down on you. In the indoor wood stoves and pellet stoves, it is 4.5 grams per hour now, this is the new EPA regulations.
By 2020, you are gonna go more than 50% cleaner at .2 grams per hour by 2020.
So the indoor wood stoves are also gonna get considerably more expensive as well as this new law gets implemented, and the new research, and new stoves, and all that comes down.
Basically what I've read quickly, to kind of sum it up for you, is the damping device to add more air to your unit, to let it burn hotter or colder, is where the EPA's after. They're not gonna allow you to damper control how much air gets into the unit, which basically you're gonna burn full-on, okay? Which, as you guys know, that when you're full-on you're usually, you know, your house is at 85 degrees. So again, why are they regulating that? Because of emissions.
Warm Air Furnaces EPA Regulations
Warm air furnaces, now this was an interesting one. This is the very smallest part of our industry, and it is for the units that you put in your basement, you put wood in and it throws air through the duct work.
If you look at the standard, which is the same for the outdoor hydronic boiler, pounds per million, they are three times dirtier than we are now, which I found pretty strange, and that is EPA standards. However, by 2020, they've got to get down to all the way to .15 which is a huge jump and in my opinion, I don't think it's obtainable.
Now, don't worry if you have a unit or you're looking into getting a unit before these dates. All units, all three categories that are existing, are grandfathered in. So that means if you have a unit or you're gonna get a unit before these dates, you can keep them up and running as long as humanly possible, and keep your receipts, and they're also gonna also use the word "have to be installed by." So try to get something that identifies that your unit was installed by these dates and everything should be great.
Check out our blog posts on how to install and maintain an outdoor wood boiler, and if you need more details, do not hesitate to contact us!
- Why & How to Choose the Best Outdoor Wood Boiler
- Where & How to Install an Outdoor Wood Boiler
- Wood Boilers Maintenance Kits & Tips
- Wood Boilers Connections Part 1: How To Connect an Outdoor Wood Boiler to an Indoor Furnace
- Wood Boilers Connections Part 2: Common Problems in Connecting Two Boilers Together
- Stove Maintenance Part 1: How to Change the Wood Stove Fire Rope
- Stove Maintenance Part 2: How to Replace a Wood Stove Fan Cover
- Stove Maintenance Part 3: How to Clean the Wood Heater
- Stove Maintenance Part 4: How to Set Up the Control Panel