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Consumers -
Choosing Appliances

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Video Guide

How to select a new stove for home heat
Department of Ecology, State of Washington Exit EPA disclaimer - A Quick Guide on How to Select a New Stove for Home Heat.


How to Burn Wise
HPBA's Burn Wise Video Guide Exit EPA disclaimer - A Video Guide to Operating Your Wood Stove Efficiently

If you decide to burn wood, EPA encourages you to use the cleanest wood-burning appliance possible. When choosing appliances, consider the size of the room - or rooms - you'll be heating. Your local hearth retailer can help you make the best choice and can provide you with options to suit your needs and budget.

What is the difference between an EPA-certified and EPA-qualified appliance?

An EPA-certified appliance must adhere to regulatory emission requirements established by EPA. At this time only wood stoves and some pellet stoves may be considered "EPA certified." By law, wood stove manufacturers may only sell wood stoves and wood stove inserts that meet EPA's mandatory smoke emission limit of 7.5 grams of smoke per hour (g/h) for non-catalytic stoves and 4.1 g/h for catalytic stoves. (Wood stoves offered for sale in the state of Washington must meet a limit of 4.5 g/h for non-catalytic stoves and 2.5 g/h for catalytic stoves.) Learn more.

Fireplaces and hydronic heaters (outdoor wood boilers) are not currently regulated by EPA. However, manufacturers of these appliances may choose to meet voluntary emission standards set by EPA. Apppliances that meet the voluntary requirements are considered "EPA-qualified." While these units are NOT certified by EPA, they do burn more cleanly than older models that are not qualified. Always check your state or local air quality agency to determine the types of wood-burning appliances that are approved for use in your area.

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Check for the EPA label

image of back of wood stove with EPA label

Choosing an EPA-certified wood stove

If you are considering the purchase of a new wood stove or wood-burning fireplace insert, or are trying to determine if your current wood stove is EPA-certified under EPA regulations, check the:

You can also look for the permanent metal EPA certification label on the back of the stove.

More information on can be found on the wood stove page. To learn more about Your Old Wood Stove's Dirty Little Secret (PDF) (2pp, 3.4MB, About PDF) and Burn Wise Tips (PDF) (1pg, 67k, About PDF).

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image of fireplace hang tag

Choosing an EPA-qualified fireplace

EPA has a voluntary program to encourage manufacturers of wood-burning fireplaces to produce and sell cleaner units. To find fireplaces that qualify under the voluntary program go to:

*The wood-burning appliances that are "qualified" under the EPA Voluntary Fireplace Program are not "certified" per EPA's Wood Heater New Source Performance Standard. Contact your state or local air quality agency for clarification on the type of wood-burning appliances, if any, that may legally be installed in your area. 

EPA qualified units often carry a temporary hang tag on the front of the fireplace to demonstrate that these models have met EPA qualifications to be considered cleaner burning. A permanent metal EPA qualifying label may be viewed prior to installation of the unit. More information can be found on the fireplace page.

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image of hydronic heater hang tag

Choosing an EPA-qualified hydronic heater (outdoor wood boiler)

EPA also has a voluntary program to encourage manufacturers of hydronic heaters to produce cleaner models. To find hydronic heaters that qualify under the voluntary program go to:

* The wood-burning appliances that are "qualified" under the EPA's Voluntary Hydronic Heater and Fireplace Programs are not "certified" per EPA's Wood Heater New Source Performance Standard. Contact your state or local air quality agency for clarification on the type of wood-burning appliances, if any, that may legally be installed in your area.

EPA qualified units often carry a temporary hang tag on the front of the hydronic heater to demonstrate that these models have met EPA qualifications to be considered cleaner burning. A permanent metal EPA qualifying label can be found either in a readily visible location on the exterior of the unit or inside the door. More information can be found on the hydronic heater page.

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Changeout Information

Arizona Changeout - Residents of Apache and Navajo counties can receive a rebate for trading out their existing coal stove or non-EPA certified wood stove. More information. Exit EPA disclaimer


Algaaciq Tribal Government- The Native Village of St. Mary's Algaaciq Tribal Government received a Community Environmental Demonstration Project grant to replace old non-compliant wood-stoves with EPA-certified stoves in 12 homes. More information Exit EPA disclaimer


Dane County, WI- Dane County Clean Air Coalition launches a Burn Wise Education and Wood Stove Changeout Program More informationExit EPA disclaimer


Faribanks, AK- The Air Quality Improvement Program is offering reimbursement incentives for removing , replacing or repairing home heating devices. More information Exit EPA disclaimer


Pittsfield, MA- Interprint Inc.has agreed with federal authorities to pay $80,000 in penalties as well as contribute $305,000 to replace old, high-pollution wood stoves with cleaner substitutes. More information

Exit EPA disclaimer


Wood Stove Changeout Programs Exit EPA disclaimer - A comprehensive list of changeouts that are happening around the country.

Paying for your new wood-burning appliance

In December 2010, the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit was amended and extended for another year.If you choose to burn wood and want to purchase a new, more efficient wood-burning stove, you may qualify for a federal tax credit.

Additional resources

  • Wise Heat Exit EPA disclaimer - Provides alternative heating reviews and information.
  • Hearth.com Exit EPA disclaimer - A comprehensive website that will help you find most any hearth product you are looking for and/or address any of your hearth questions.
  • Fuel Efficiency Calculator Exit EPA disclaimer - An on-line calculator that provides a cost comparison between different fuel types including hardwoods, softwoods, gas, oil, and electric.

Installation and Maintenance Resources

  • National Fireplace Institute Exit EPA disclaimer - An independent, non-profit certification agency that provides certification for proper installation of hearth products.

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