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?
- Choosing an EPA-certified wood stove
- Choosing an EPA-qualified fireplace
- Choosing an EPA-qualified hydronic heater (outdoor wood boiler)
- Paying for your new wood-burning appliance
- Additional resources
- Installation and maintenance resources
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.
Check for the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Dane County, WI- Dane County Clean Air Coalition launches a Burn Wise Education and Wood Stove Changeout Program More information
Faribanks, AK- The Air Quality Improvement Program is offering reimbursement incentives for removing , replacing or repairing home heating devices. More information
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
Wood Stove Changeout Programs - 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.
- Provides $300 for the purchase of a qualified biomass-burning stove between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.
- Any wood- or pellet-burning stove that meets the 75 percent efficiency rating qualifies.
- Professional installation costs are included as long as installation is required for the proper and safe operation of the stove.
- Learn more by visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) or EPA's Energy Star's Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
- Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) - Association Web site for outdoor wood heaters, wood stoves and other related industries
- HPBA's Responsible Wood-burning Fact Sheets - Responsible wood burning will provide efficient and economical home heating - as well as reduce your home energy costs and protect your neighborhood air quality.
- Alliance for Green Heat - Provides information on choosing appliances and federal and state policies.
- Wise Heat - Provides alternative heating reviews and information.
- Hearth.com - A comprehensive website that will help you find most any hearth product you are looking for and/or address any of your hearth questions.
- How much heat does that room need? - Allows consumers to estimate the amount of BTUs required to heat a room by entering in the room’s dimensions.
- Fuel Efficiency Calculator - 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 - An independent, non-profit certification agency that provides certification for proper installation of hearth products.
- Chimney Safety Institute of America - A non-profit, educational organization dedicated to chimney and venting system safety.