During the cold months of winter, most homeowners consider their fireplaces and stoves to be a necessity. However, telling the difference between a “good” or “bad” heating appliance can sometimes be difficult.
Many homeowners base their decision on whether or not to purchase a stove or fireplace based on its EPA rating. Others may purchase a home with an older heating appliance only to discover that it is not EPA certified.
While EPA certifications are an excellent way to evaluate the energy efficiency of a new appliance, there are also many units that do not have these ratings yet still work well. In this post we will discuss the difference between EPA and non-EPA certified fireplaces and stoves.
What are EPA certifications?
The EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, created regulatory emission requirements for heating appliances such as stoves, fireplaces, and inserts. These requirements were developed in order to help minimize air pollution.
What is the difference between an EPA certified and an EPA qualified appliance?
Currently, only wood and pellet stoves can receive EPA certifications. To make this certification, this must meet strict regulatory emissions standards.
Fireplaces and outdoor boilers, also called hydronic heaters, cannot be EPA certified because their emissions cannot be as closely regulated by the EPA. However, many of these appliances can be EPA qualified. To earn the EPA qualification, manufacturers can voluntarily meet emissions standards set by the EPA. While this does not make them certified, units with this qualification do burn cleaner and more efficiently than those without it.
How can I tell if my appliance is EPA certified?
Wood burning stoves that are EPA certified should have a tag or label located on the back of the stove. If you cannot find a tag, the current list of EPA certified wood heaters can be found here. Homeowners should also look for labels for safety certification groups such as Underwriters Laboratories.
Finding the EPA qualification tag of an existing fireplace unit may be difficult. Often, the labels for these appliances can only be viewed before they are installed. If you have questions about the qualification of your unit, the list of EPA qualified fireplaces can be found here. If you are purchasing a new fireplace, look for the tag that labels the appliance as Phase Two Qualified.
Benefits of an EPA certified appliance
Many homes may have older appliances that do not meet current EPA standards. While these appliances might still function well, there are a number of benefits of upgrading to an appliance that meets modern EPA standards.
The main benefit of upgrading to an EPA certified or qualified appliance is in the improved efficiency. An older, non-certified wood stove may create as much as 30 grams of smoke per hour. Newer certified models, however, create as little as two grams of smoke per hour. Less smoke means that more of your fuel source is being burned, which translates to savings for you by purchasing less wood or pellets.
While you may love your old stove or fireplace, consider upgrading to a new EPA certified or qualified model. You will make your home safer and healthier by reducing smoke and emissions, as well as potentially save money by burning your fuel source more efficiently. If you’re ready to upgrade your heating appliance and live around Littleton, CO, contact the staff at Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney today. Our expert staff can help you find the stove or fireplace that is right for you!