|This map shows which states historically|
have the highest percent of residents
claiming the energy tax credits, including
the credit for wood and pellet stoves.
However, stove manufacturers often mislead consumers into thinking they are buying a stove that is at least 75% efficient when in fact it may be in the low or mid 60s. Manufacturers are allowed to self-certify which stoves are eligible for the credit and some appear to ignore any common sense definition of the Congressional language which stipulated requiring a stove "which has a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75 percent."
The Alliance for Green Heat is calling on HPBA and stove manufacturers to publicly support and abide by a policy of only recognizing the average, overall efficiency of stoves based on third party testing at an EPA approved lab. Currently, some manufacturers will self-certify a stove to be eligible for the tax credit if it reached 75% efficiency on only one of its 4 burn rates. Others self-certify that their stoves are eligible when the stove did not reach 75% efficiency on any burn rate.
The Alliance for Green Heat supports tax credits and other incentives that focus on the cleanest and most efficient stoves. However, he federal tax credit has no criteria for grams per hour and virtually all stoves have claimed to be at least 75% efficient, minimizing the underlying intent of a tax credit. The American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) has also called on Congress and the IRS to define and enforce the 75% efficiency eligibility limit.
The definition of 75% efficient is still unresolved. The IRS recognized the use of the European lower heating value (LHV) efficiency measurement until 2010 when Congress removed the LHV language. The efficiency measurement should have reverted to the North American standard of using HHV, but industry has continued to use LHV. (A stove measuring 75% efficiency using LHV would be about 70% efficiency using HHV.)
We will update this blog as it becomes more clear which companies are self-certifying stoves at 75% efficient when they may only be in the low or mid 60s.
To be sure that you are buying a higher efficiency stove, check the EPA's list of certified wood stoves, and choose one that with an actual, verified efficiency. There are many non-cat stoves over 70% efficiency and many catalytic and pellet stoves over 75% efficiency. Unfortunately, if you are buying a stove in 2018, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get a tax credit for it. Congress may make the credit retroactive again in 2019, but then again, they may not.
For more background on the wood heater tax credit, click here.