Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Misleading Advertising in Wood Stove Industry: Is there a better way to move forward?

 “Meets EPA Requirements” said an advertisement by a retailer of Vogelzang stoves. But what the advertisement really means is that the stoves do not meet EPA emissions standards. They meet requirements to be exempt from emissions standards. Are customers duped into thinking they are buying an EPA certified stove? Of course they are. And the top of the ad reads “Vogelzang .... the name you can trust.”

Companies or retailers who run advertisements like that now could receive a letter or email from the EPA, requesting that they stop using such language. Vogelzang’s website, like the sites of the other companies that make exempt stoves says: “Vogelzang stoves meet EPA requirements for "exempt" wood/coal burning appliances (stoves).” This is still confusing for the consumer but it is technically accurate and apparently acceptable language for the EPA.

US Stove Company’s website simply says “EPA exempt.” Any consumer who did not understand that could research it within minutes. But its unclear how many are confused and how many figure it out.

We believe Drolet may have some of the best advertising of an exempt stove because it says, “It is ideal for hunting camps, cabins, and garages.” They also have a page for Frequently Asked Questions, and one question is about the difference between exempt and certified stoves. It explains the difference, and concludes: “For those users seeking a prolonged combustion time (overnight burn), it is highly recommended to chose a stove tested to EPA or CSAB415.1 standards (i.e. EPA-Certified or CSAB415.1 Certified). Such stoves will normally cost more money, but they represent a wise investment in terms of efficiency and emissions.”

One stove that still features the “Meets EPA Requirements” language as a selling point, but is exempt is the Bixby multi-fuel UBB, otherwise known as the “Ugly Black Box.” (At least they are honest about that.)

Internet outlet, WoodLand Direct, advertises a US Stove Company model this way: “This model is exempt by the EPA for low maintenance wood burning.”

A few stove manufactures, such as Vogelzang, still advertise that their stoves are eligible for a tax credit of up to $300, even though the tax credit expired five months ago, on December 31, 2011.


  1. wood stoves industry will take a turn for the better, I believe.

  2. Thank you, AGH for shining a light on this topic. I have long wondered how these companies can legally market these products. I hope the next step is a tagging requirement on the manufacturer specifying whether or not they are in compliance, or something similar to what was required of tobacco companies.