Friday, March 28, 2014

People who use wood stoves speak out about the EPA's new rules

These short testimonies of why people support stronger emission standards are a moving tribute to the importance of wood heating in America.  These comments were left by people who signed a petition to support stricter emission rules for stoves.  After reading these comments, please consider joining
them and sign the petition yourself!

Most of the testimonies below are from people who use wood as a primary or secondary source heat for their homes.  Almost all want to save more money and breathe cleaner air.

These comments, with hundreds of others, will be submitted to the EPA during the public comment period for the proposed rules, which ends on May 5, 2014.  In addition to signing the petition, you can also submit more detailed comments directly to the EPA up until May 5.  

Why I support cleaner and more efficient stoves:

George Wollenburg ELK RIVER, MN
Keeping the burning of renewable fuels as clean as possible will assure they remain as part of our energy solution. I live in an area where quality firewood is plentiful and burning wood keeps my energy costs low.

Anne Bornholdt QUINLAN, TX
This being the only source of heat for our home I want it to be clean burning and efficient and expect the product I use meet these standards.

Vito labella STATEN ISLAND, NY
Wood heat is important to the working poor. Let's clear the smoke and make an affordable wood stove for those that need the heat!

My vocation was designing stoves, wood burning mostly. These new standards are very possible to achieve. Any manufacture should and can do it. Better and efficient appliances also mean less wood and fuss. Hard to beat!

Wood can be an important source of heat in many parts of the country and can be environmentally sound if you use a low emitting stove. I fully support these standards.

Sat Jiwan Ikle-Khalsa TAKOMA PARK, MD
It's been long overdue to increase the efficiency and emissions standards of America's number one renewable energy. Let's make clean, affordable, renewable energy accessible to all!

David Straus GARDINER, NY
The environment and its protection are absolutely necessary for our, our children, and all future generations. The new regulations will help insure such protection.

Ronald Browder AWENDAW, SC
A great way to heat homes with a renewable resource. The cleaner the better.

Janet Pearson OLYMPIA, WA
For those of us in states rich with trees, wood stoves can be an important and sustainable source of heat.

Yvette Tillema KEENE, NY
This is important because we should do all we can to take care of our health and the planets health. Get money out of politics and let the good spread like magic.

I live in the outskirts of a major urban area, but many homes in my neighborhood heat with wood stoves for various reasons. As self-sustainability becomes more integrated into the urban lifestyle, we can't depend on each individual to make the best choices when it comes to clean air. As much as I value the rights of the individual, it has been proven time and time again to not be always be in my best interest. At times, governance is needed, and I firmly believe this is one of those times.

William Hunter MAKANDA, IL
Best available data I have seen indicate that we are on the way to a global environmental catastrophe. I want to do whatever I can to help avoid that. Cleaner burning wood stoves is a small part of the solution that I can contribute to.

John Cleary HAMMOND, LA
I burn wood for my heat but also believe that I am responsible to help preserve the integrity of "Spaceship Earth" for clean air.

Mary Jane Dillingham POLAND, ME
At my former home, we were seriously negatively affected by our neighbor’s outdoor wood boiler. At the time there were no legal approaches to stop our unwilling neighbor from engulfing our home in smoke. We suffered respiratory problems and our farm animals needed medial attention. Our property was constantly accosted with particulates deposited on the surface of the buildings and grounds. We had a horse farm and hay fields. Please do what you can to stop dirty discharges from outdoor wood boilers. Thank you. Mary Jane Dillingham, Maine

Steve Parks BOWLER, WI
Here in north central Wisconsin, wood stoves, furnaces and boilers are more popular than ever. Unfortunately, the easy way to know this is drive around and count the houses with the thick dark cloud billowing from a smoke stack, day in and day out. Going on fifty years, cars have been getting more and more emission efficient, it's high time wood and pellet stoves do the same to conserve our wood resources and what's left of our atmosphere.

Our kids are subjected to enough chemicals in our foods; they don't have to fight clean air also. I think that this is easy enough for us to achieve.

Timothy Leach CASTINE, ME
I have used wood to supplement heating our house and as back-up heat in power outages for over 30 years. Wood heat is a great source of renewable energy

I'm a grandmother who wants to leave a healthy environment to my grandchildren and beyond.

Lewis Thibodeau CLAREMONT, NH
It is important for all industries to take responsibility for their impact on health, the environment, and efficient use of natural resources and to innovate to that end. The wood heat industry is behind in this when compared to other industries. I have had the privilege to work in a lab setting testing technology solutions that produce clean and efficient results. I know that it is possible and has obvious and exciting potential to become even better. It is time to make the players in the industry step up to the challenge because it is the right thing to do for health reasons, environmental reasons, and in the best long-term interest of the industry.

Harold Garabedian MONTPELIER, VT

Continued progress on lowering emissions and increasing efficiency is critical to ensuring that the market expand allowing residential wood burning is not marginalized to rural applications and is allowed to make a greater contribution to America's use of local renewable energy.

Stephen Dutton SPANISH FORK, UT
No only does the technology make the air cleaner, but what I see as the even more important and beneficial reason is you get more heat out of the wood you burn therefore you burn less wood! Wood is a much better source of heat than home heating oil which is nasty stuff to handle. Ever hear of a wood spill? Everything about wood is good.

Erik Henrikson MILFORD, MA
I support this as it is "the right thing to do" - clean burning stoves are not just good for air quality but they reduce waste (more heat in the home for the wood). However, effort needs to be made to encourage folks to burn clean - even a good stove can pollute if burned improperly.

Gerald & Barbara Cooper SPRINGFIELD, NH
Cleaner wood stove technology means more BTUs of heat in my living room and less particulates in my lungs!

Louise Clark KETCHIKAN, AK
Good wood heat is by far the best most comfortable heat there is superior in every way to burning fossil fuels, which only destroy our earth from its extraction to its burning period.

Judy Gibson COLUMBIA, MO
I paid more for my stove and after 9 years of use a professional chimney sweep came to clean our double-walled stainless steel chimney and went away saying, "There is nothing there to clean". We always burn seasoned hardwood but took no other precautions on a daily basis.

Paul Theorgood MAYS LANDING, NJ

Because the public health benefits outweigh the costs of compliance.

Peter Tamposi NASHUA, NH
Need to bring 20th century technology into the woodstove business.

Jim Norton MIDWAY, UT
I am a believer in clean air and free renewable resources to heat my house.


Cleaner burning woodstoves = less fossil fuel use and more money remaining in the local economy for fuel expenditures, as well as higher 'burn for the buck' and lower emissions. Best of all possible worlds.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tell the EPA we want cleaner and more efficient stoves

The EPA has proposed new regulations that will require all residential heating appliances to be cleaner.  We believe the EPA is on the right track and we need to support their efforts in the face of a strong far right-wing campaign against it.  

The future of wood and pellet heating in America depends on the technology becoming cleaner and more efficient.  Otherwise, there will be more and more efforts to restrict wood heating and to keep it out of renewable energy incentive programs.

Sign the petition here, and share it with your friends!

The Alliance for Green Heat teamed up with a stove manufacturer to launch this petition in support of new regulations for wood heaters. While there are many problems with the proposed rule, we know that EPA is working diligently and making many changes and open to making many more. The petition does not endorse the strictest possible standard of 1.3 grams an hour for stoves, but we believe that a strict standard is important and achievable. If you support the spirit and goals of cleaner and more efficient wood and pellet heating, please sign, share and forward to your friends!

One reason it is so important for the EPA to hear from you is that there is a far right-wing campaign to undermine and stop these regulations.  Many far right wing pundits, writers and bloggers are spreading the rumor that the regulations will ban wood stoves, the EPA is trying to kill the wood stove industry and that rural America will be the big losers.  We know that these regulations will be good for consumers and good for rural America because they will result in more efficient stoves and boilers which will save consumers hundreds of dollars each winter on fuel.  And the reduced levels of smoke are especially important for children, seniors and anyone who has asthma.

Wood and pellet heating should be a key part of our renewable energy future, and not sidelined because it is perceived as dirty and old-fashioned.  These regulations will help protect and promote the ability of Americans to affordably heat their homes with wood.

Thank you for your support!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gravity Fed Pellet Stove Wins Vesta Award

Gap 2020
Updated: May 2022. After years of development, a company finally produced an EPA certified pellet stove in 2013 that needs no electricity.  The stove was developed by an Oregon company, Wiseway from which the stove takes its name, and then the company was bought by US Stove, who improved its design. The unit uses natural draft for the air and gravity to feed the pellets into the combustion chamber.

The designer of the Wiseway, Gary Wisener, has now built another EPA certified gravity fed stove with a partner, Gene Bradley, who owns Smokey's Stoves in Oregon.  The Gap 2020 is designed for off-grid and has many valuable features such as a cooktop and an attachable one and hot water reservoir.

US Stove owns another brand, Breckwell, which now also makes a gravity fed stove called the Traverse. The Traverse is 2020 certified, but it reportedly had quality problems with welding, which hopefully are fixed by now.

Many gravity fed pellet stoves are on the market in Europe, including ones by Tulikivi (Finland), Yola (Ireland), Koppe (Germany) and Altech (Netherlands). Click here for more on gravity fed pellet stoves.
The Wiseway

For decades, one of the main drawbacks of pellet stoves has been that they don’t work in a blackout because they require electricity. And, with so many moving parts, pellet stoves often break down and need much more maintenance than wood stoves. 

When the stove started to sell in 2013, quite a few customers had problems with it, including the pellets in the hopper catching on fire, also known as a “burn back.”  The stove has been redesigned.

(If you are looking to buy a pellet stove, check our "6 tips to buy the right pellet stove" based on independent research.)

The launch of the Wiseway illustrates a much wider problem in the stove industry: a lack of reliable, independent product reports that assess consumer satisfaction and reliability.  Even if consumers spend lots of time on the Internet reading various consumer reviews on sites like, it is still very difficult to get a sense of how common the problems are and what overall rating a product should have. has several threads on the Wiseway that are worth reading if you are considering purchasing one.  

Consumer Reports once did a very limited review of 6 pellet stoves, in which they recommended two.  The review did not even mention emission rates, nor did it test for fan or augur noise, other common issues that consumers have with stoves.  The Wiseway has no fan or augur noise, which is a big plus for some consumers.  Moreover, the stove has a very respectable emission rate of 1.9 grams per hour.  Equally important, it was EPA certified in 2014 during a time where pellet stoves were not required to get certified.  EPA certified pellet stoves are likely to be more efficient since many, if not most, uncertified stoves pour excess air through the stove, which can significantly reduce efficiency. 

The Wiseway has an EPA verified efficiency of 69%, higher than some more expensive pellet stoves that use electricity.   Many pellet stoves have efficiencies under 70%. The Alliance for Green Heat advises consumers to rely on the efficiencies on the EPA list and find one is that is 75% efficient or higher to get the federal tax credit which is 26% in 2022 and 22% in 2023 which includes all installation costs as well.

There is clearly a large market niche to be filled by a gravity fed pellet stove and Wiseway is the first one out of the gate.  We suspect there will be competitors in coming years and that competition is likely to lead to better and better products.