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Learn about Wood Stove

Wood Stove

A stove with a steel shell that houses a controlled fire of wood or other carbonaceous material that is used to heat a home.

Look for an EPA certified wood stove, which puts limits on the amount of particulate and other air pollution the stove is rated to emit. EPA certification is now a requirement for new wood stoves sold in the USA, since 2015. Check that your jurisdiction allows wood stoves, because some cities have restricted their use. Look at the EPA certified list to choose a high efficiency model - efficiencies range from 60% to 80%. Find a WETT certified installer (Wood Energy Technology Transfer), for correct and safe installation. Combustion gases must be reliably and safely vented.

The quality of your firewood also matters. Hardwood logs that have been cut and allowed to dry for at least a year prior to use are the best, increasing burn efficiency and reducing creosote, soot, and harmful air emissions.

Wood stoves use a renewable energy source, if the wood is harvested sustainably. Wood stoves increasingly have fairly good energy efficiency ratings. However, the smoke from the chimney still contains significant air pollutants that are hazardous to health, especially in urban areas where they can become concentrated and mixed with other urban air pollution.

Use of fire has a very long history. Researchers recently discovered evidence of controlled use of fire by Homo Erectus, an ancestor of the human species, one million years ago. The 2012 discovery, in the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa, pushed the origins of the use of fire 300,000 years earlier than previously thought.