Many people fantasize about romantic nights in front of a warm, cozy fire. The added benefit of significant home energy savings makes wood burning hearth products — such as stoves and fireplace inserts — practical as well as aesthetically pleasing. An increasing number of homeowners are turning toward heating their homes with firewood. Firewood’s relatively low cost, abundance, and renewability make it a safe and reliable biomass fuel. A few basic considerations help promote responsible wood burning for enhanced efficiency, economy, and air quality.
If you’ve been deterred from getting a wood stove or fireplace insert because of fears about excessive smoke, there’s good news: advancements in technology over the past 30 years have led to the development of new wood stoves and fireplaces which produce minimal ash and smoke. These durable, air-tight models require certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); in fact, today’s EPA-certified wood burning products max out at a miniscule 7.5 grams of emissions per hour as compared to the 42 grams averaged by older models. Homeowners don’t just benefit from direct home savings when the energy bill arrives, many can also take advantage of tax incentives for the purchase and installation of biomass products.
Increase Efficiency, Decrease Emissions
Switching out older, uncertified products for today’s state-of-the-art low emissions wood stoves, fireplaces, and accessories makes a substantial difference in achieving responsible wood burning. According to the EPA, 9 million of the 12 million wood stoves in today’s homes are uncertified, and therefore a whopping 50 percent less efficient than models manufactured after 1990.
When using these products, choose dry (AKA “seasoned”) wood or manufactured non-wax fire logs, which can be used in both wood stoves and fireplaces, to reduce smoke and lower emissions. Build small hot fires and use a fire starter — kindling or newspaper is ideal — to further achieve responsible wood burning habits. Additionally, using hearth products as recommended by the manufacturer and scheduling regular service and maintenance ensures optimal usage. Furthermore, weatherizing measures — such as sealing and insulating — save energy while improving air quality.
While choosing a low emissions hearth product might seem overwhelming because of the many options on the market today, your hearth specialty retailer is available to help. Contact our expert team for more information regarding how to find the right low emission hearth product for your home and family.