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EPA Makes Most Wood Stoves Illegal 1143

First time accepted submitter Jody Bruchon writes "The Environment Protection Agency has lowered the amount of fine-particle matter per cubic meter that new wood stoves are allowed to release into the atmosphere by 20%. Most wood stoves in use today are of the type that is now illegal to manufacture or sell, and old stoves traded in for credit towards new ones must be scrapped out. This shouldn't be much of a surprise since more and more local governments are banning wood-burning stoves and fireplaces entirely, citing smog and air pollution concerns."
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EPA Makes Most Wood Stoves Illegal

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  • by Bomarc ( 306716 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:08PM (#45380387) Homepage
    I would love to know which gas / propane / electric company bought this rule....
    • by blankinthefill ( 665181 ) <> on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:18PM (#45380435) Journal
      Honestly, I don't think is was bought. Wood burning stoves are a huge, huge source of dangerous particulate pollutions in many states in the north, where there is not the option to use gas, and oil is too expensive for many families. Fairbanks, AK, a community of about 100,000k people, has some of the worst particulate pollution in the developed world because of the amount of woodburning that goes on there during the winter.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fazig ( 2909523 )
        Yes, I have to agree, it's certainly not bought. Burning fossil fuels does seem to be way more sensible.
        (beware of sarcasm)

        To be honest, I don't live in the US, I live in Germany and use wood burning since years, about 10m^3 per year. Here in the south of Germany we have massive sustainable forestry, leaving over tons of firewood every year. It's cheap, most independent and my emissions in any way are lower compared to using oil or electric energy for heat in winter.
        I have to agree that there is a prob
      • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @12:04AM (#45380721)

        and that's why that area has such low life expectancy? oh wait, no they don't, it's average for the USA. Maybe that biofuel isn't so bad compared to coal burning. Maybe the EPA and most the rest of the federal government needs to be cut down to a fraction of its bloated size

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          We need the EPA. We just need to put people in charge there that have a clue. That, of course, would take a government that had a clue. Sadly........

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 10, 2013 @01:01AM (#45381083)

            We need the EPA. We just need to put people in charge there that have a clue. That, of course, would take a government that had a clue. Sadly........

            No, we don't need the EPA. We need the legislative branch to stop ceding its responsibilities to the executive. Where laws are required, they must come from the legislature, not random executive departments gone haywire.

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @01:48AM (#45381319)

          Come on, give me a break. It's not all about instant death, it's more often about about quality of life.

          A few years ago I inexplicably developed asthma in Northern California (I have never had a single allergy, etc in 40 years). The doctor said she had seen a huge number of the same cases due to major fires south of San Jose that year (so bad some days you could see a haze in the air 50+ miles away). And I have never had the symptoms since (well, actually - one time - hanging out in a bar in IL before they instituted the smoking ban... so it's pretty clear what triggers it...)

      • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @02:17AM (#45381441)

        Honestly, I don't think is was bought. Wood burning stoves are a huge, huge source of dangerous particulate pollutions in many states in the north

        The effects of this are local, not national. Northern states and towns should be able to make these tradeoffs locally. There is no reason for the federal government setting rules or the entire nation.

    • Or perhaps it was an established stove company that can meet the new guidelines, but doesn't want new competitors.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:23PM (#45380475)

      I'm not entirely against this rule, but I think it should be a local law not a national one. Someone in the middle of the city burning things is a pretty big asshole; someone living in a cabin in the woods isn't causing local problems and could possibly have circumstances that make the usage more understandable -- e.g., using wood that otherwise would go to waste, or using it as a back-up fuel source in case something goes wrong in the middle of winter.
      Not to mention that the fairest thing would be to judge each person's energy usage rather than ban particular uses of energy. Piecemeal laws like this are why we end up with absurdities such as the government often giving "green" incentives to wasteful people because they waste through sheer mass of usage (e.g., having a gigantic home) while each particular element in the massive waste is efficient.

    • I would love to know which gas / propane / electric company bought this rule....

      My money's on the American Lung Association.

      • by Nimey ( 114278 )

        Pah. Those of us with asthma aren't Real Americans.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Pah. Those of us with asthma aren't Real Americans.

          Excuse me, I have asthma. And this bullshit about "particulate" count is just that, bullshit. The reason wood burning stoves are being banned in municipalities is because some people don't like the smell of burning wood, or the lingering smoke... and yes, on some days, it can linger. If everyone in suburbia was burning wood during the winter, we'd look like Shanghai. That's true; But that's not because wood stoves are environmentally unfriendly, but because we've packed ourselves in like sardines to the poi

          • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @02:08AM (#45381405)

            Excuse me, I have asthma. And this bullshit about "particulate" count is just that, bullshit. The reason wood burning stoves are being banned in municipalities is because some people don't like the smell of burning wood, or the lingering smoke

            Your whole post is complete and utter bullshit. Wood smoke is the single largest source of PM air pollution in the Bay Area in the winter, and had been for decades (yes, more than cars). You didn't cite a single source in your post because you can't.

            At an eco-system level, burning wood is better for the environment than the total pollution from extraction,refining, and transport, of natural gas and propane.

            Holy shit, that's so untrue it's mind boggling. If you want to compare current gas use vs current wood use, sure, but if you were to replace gas with wood YOU SAID SO YOURSELF we'd look like a polluted Chinese city (probably worse). So, what a horrible false analogy!

            The air quality in many cities is already too low; So ostensibly, we have to reduce it any way we can, not for environmental reasons per-se, but quality of life. Cars stink. And burning wood would just make the cities stink that much more.

            Another awful misconception! You think the only problem with air quality is the smell? Seriously?? How on earth is "quality of life" from *breathing* not an environmental issue? As an anecdote (that I mentioned in another thread) about 5 years ago there were major fires south of the Bay Area, CA that resulted in some horrible air quality (sort of like a lot of people burning wood). It's the first time in my life I had asthma, and I was freaked out and went to the doctor. She said she had seen a bunch of cases of people who had it for the first time because of massive amount of wood smoke coming from the fires that year. Not surprisingly, I have never had it again.

            So, yeah, sure, replace all of the natural gas heat with wood stoves, and see what that does for "quality of life"...

            • by GPS Pilot ( 3683 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @12:09PM (#45384111)

              there were major fires south of the Bay Area, CA that resulted in some horrible air quality (sort of like a lot of people burning wood).

              Except wildfires are nothing like people burning wood. The type of stove currently being banned produces far fewer particulates per kg of wood burned than a wildfire. Even Ben Franklin's stove of 1741 [] produced fewer particulates than a wildfire.

              I've experienced smoke from a wildfire 15 miles away entering my neighborhood; and I've experienced cold days when lots of neighbors were using woodstoves. There is no comparison. The former was a miserable experience. The latter was a pleasant experience.

              Collective use of woodstoves never comes anywhere close to creating plumes that can easily be seen from space [].

    • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:59PM (#45380687)

      I would love to know which gas / propane / electric company bought this rule....

      Yeah it's another bullshit EPA rule. Did you know that there are cars that emit about half the pollutants into the atmosphere that current EPA-certified cars do by volume? But they're illegal to sell here because the percentage of certain emissions is too high. In other words, we could do less environmental damage per car with (some) imports, but they're illegal because they won't spend a fortune fitting rare-earth metal infested catalytic converters and other emissions systems that, in reality, don't help the environment much -- but they're super expensive and only a few companies sell them here.

      Burning wood is a very efficient way to heat a home. A small home within the arctic circle can keep warming with just a few logs a day; A chord of wood can last them the entire winter; Which is maybe about half of what a single decently mature tree will yield. I used to live on a 30 acre plot of woods growing up in a rural area. We had a furnace to keep the pipes from freezing when we were away for long periods, but the house itself was the size of a barn and was poorly insulated. Even at that, we only needed about 8 logs a day to keep it nice and toasty at 80F. The roof almost never had snow on it unless it was fresh.

      We'd go out in the winter with out little plastic sleds (I was 12) and I'd haul down about 20 logs at a time to the truck and load it up... Then help cut it up and leave it out on a tarp to dry in the sun. Two, maybe three dead trees in the winter was all we needed to keep our massive and poorly insulated house cooking all winter. And up here in the northern midwest of the United States, we're at the same latitude as Moscow. It gets cold.

      By comparison, to heat our house with propane, we'd need to fill our giant tank up about 5 times during the winter, at the cost of a few thousand dollars. As opposed to the gas and oil for the chainsaw... which cost about $20, and the excercise, which I suppose you could say was paid for in pancakes.

      You think about that for a minute now -- all the pollutants we have to burn off, all the electricity we spend, all the labor, and all the extra pollution from transporting it all over the country, to get that propane into the tank... as opposed to just going outside, walking a few hundred feet, and going chop-chop. Those few acres of woods could provide for about ten homes' worth of nearly free heat, and the only pollutant would be carbon. Now think of the average forest fire in California; Think of the hundreds of thousands of trees that go up in flames. California could provide heat for next to nothing to all those homes up along the mountains and keep the ferocity of those forest fires down, by logging the dead trees. Not clear-cut logging like the environmentalists like to showcase... but just the dead trees; Move in on foot, haul them out on sleds.

      But they'd rather you buy the dry heat from a propane or natural gas tap... because it's more environmentally friendly?

      Dude, if you believe that bullshit cover story, you're smoking the cheap $3 crack. Raw oil comes to us on supertankers, and there are no environmental restrictions on the oil those things burn. They are so dirty you can't bring them up-wind less than fifty miles of a major city because you'd have people hospitalized for asthma attacks. A significant portion of our environmental pollution is from these supertankers, powered by the most unrefined, shitty oil you can imagine... it's black like the night and you can see chunks of particulate floating in the tanks, so big you can grab them with your bare hands.

      Environmentalism is a joke... it's just an excuse to let some people get rich at the expense of the rest of us, while making some appeal to the planet that'll fend off the opposition.

      • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @12:21AM (#45380825)

        Footnote: The type of stove we used was a very primitive double-barrel wood stove. It's exactly as the name implies; It's just two barrels stacked, with a pipe between them, and a stack out the top. You start a fire in the bottom one. It was a beautiful thing to stand next to growing up -- back of it would actually glow a faint and deep red... it would radiate heat out fifty feet in every direction. I used to stand there first thing in the morning and cook my backside and legs red just soaking in that delicious heat before I had to go to school. You could throw your sopping-wet snow pants on the top barrel, and in two minutes pull it off and it'd be dry as a bone.. and on fire if you weren't careful. God I loved that thing. Made walking a mile through the snow-covered trail that led to the county road where the bus picked us up every morning (at 6:30am) in the winter bearable. And no, it wasn't up hill both ways, but the wind would cut through any kind of clothing like razors. I'd stand up against a tree to shelter myself until the bus was in sight. I lived in a county where one day the wind chill was reported at -80, but there was no snow fall... so the governor declared the schools would remain open. They had to call a special session of the legislature to override him: Apparently having kids freeze to death in as little as 15 minutes wasn't so cool with them. The new law? -50. And people joke about it being cold in Russia... fuck. They got nothing on the northern Midwest.

        On a totally unrelated note, there is one small problem with wood stoves we had; The dog. Damn thing loved the heat it pumped out, but it would go a-wagging it's tail and catch fire. If you've ever smelled burnt dog, then you know the smell of burning wood is heavenly by comparison. Cats at least are smart enough to only catch fire once or twice. Damn dog though... every other week it was flaming lab! Yeesh. #countrybumpkinproblems

      • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @01:05AM (#45381101)
        Environmentalism isn't a joke, the fact is that there are cities in the world today that you can go to and they are so filled with smog that you can hardly breath. We had this problem back in the 60's and 70's, which is what created the EPA in the first place.

        The issue isn't *you* and the single stove, it is 10 million people doing the same thing. Each small bit adds up to a large bit.

        The thing is, burning wood is fine, if you have a modern stove that does it at the right temp, you use dried out wood, and you don't release so much crap into the air.

        The EPA isn't saying you can't have a wood burning stove, they are just saying that you need one that doesn't suck.

      • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @01:12AM (#45381137)

        I remember Los Angeles in 1980 and recently, The difference in pollution levels is stunning. I've also been to big Chinese cities and seen the pollution there. I don't know about each rule separately, but overall the emissions restrictions from the EPA have made a huge difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:11PM (#45380395)

    I live in rural South Carolina where wood stoves are the only source of heat for many many people. There is no gas infrastructure here, and many people can't afford a $10K electric heating system that will cost them HUNDREDS per month to heat their homes in the winter. At ~$4/gallon, Propane and Oil are similarly prohibitive for the rural poor.

    The busybodies in our government have no problem throwing the poor under the bus to achieve some feel-good goal so they can go home to their mansions at night and feel good about themselves. They're hurting real people.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:34PM (#45380537)
      The busybodies in gov't also have no problem subsidizing their energy costs, but that gets blocked in favor of 'deficit reduction' despite the fact that it's not even a drop in a the swimming pool much less the bucket. There's a reason why Red States get more tax dollars than Blue ones. The Blue ones are full of busy bodies trying to help.

      OTOH, the wealthy living in rural areas because they left the rotting cities don't much like the poors dirtying up the air. Read some of the other posts. Wood burning stoves in reasonably well populated areas put out a lot more particulate than you think.

      So the next time you blame a liberal busy body stop and think about what's really going on and who really benefits...
    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:57PM (#45380669) Journal

      The busybodies in our government have no problem throwing the poor under the bus to achieve some feel-good goal so they can go home to their mansions at night and feel good about themselves. They're hurting real people.

      Those with the inefficient wood stoves are the ones "hurting real people". Those "rural South Carolina" homes can continue to use their old crappy stoves. Any new homes just need to get more efficient-burning models that run about $700. Not a big added expense, and will burn 1/3rd less wood for the same amount of heat, SAVING money in the long-term.

    • by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:57PM (#45380671)
      It's possible to assist the poor with buying better stoves, and the up-front costs of doing so would probably be lower than the residual Medicare and Medicaid payouts for respiratory diseases caused or worsened by their old stoves. A higher quality stove with better fittings would also produce an incredible increase in heat output; replacing an old model can truly make the difference between shivering around the stove at night and being perfectly comfortable anywhere within 25 feet. If they pay for the wood, the stove will definitely pay itself off eventually; even if they cut wood themselves the time savings will be substantial and that time could be put to higher value activities like work, study, or even hunting.

      But I guess it's easier to denigrate every federal employee as a rich, do-nothing "busybody" who drives home to their "mansion" after "throwing the poor under the bus" than it is to see an obvious solution where the poor are healthier and more comfortable for less money than we're already putting out, and everyone breathes less soot.
      • Yeah, I love a good warm fire as much as anyone. Spent my fair share of my childhood years throwing wood in the back of a pickup or stacking wood in the shed and warming up by a hot fireplace on cold winter mornings and evenings. It's a very efficient and inexpensive way to heat a home. There is a lot of emotion attached to it, and for good reason. But there are a ton of people out there who are still using stupidly inefficient wood fireplaces that were already outclassed by fireplaces invented over a hundred years ago, including completely open fireplaces which waste ridiculous amounts of heat and burn too cool to properly burn wood cleanly.

        My father became a dealer for a line of fireplaces back in the mid-80s. These things were amazing. You start it, let it get hot for a few minutes then seal the door, damp the flu and turn down the incoming air and then you could watch the smoke recirculate and reburn inside. It put out massive amounts of heat for several hours on just two quarters of a log, and when you walked outside the only thing that gave away that the fireplace was in operation were the telltale heat waves coming out of the chimney. No visible smoke whatsoever after it got started. And these highly efficient and clean-burning stoves were available in the 80s and probably much earlier.

        Contrast that with walking around the neighborhood or driving around my small town in Alaska on a cool morning or evening. The whole place is full of wood smoke from obviously inefficient wood-burning fireplaces. And because of downdrafts and inversions it tends to stay very low and hang around. We often have smoke coming in our house from houses blocks away whenever we open the window for some "fresh" air. There's really no excuse for this when I could have a stove decades ago that basically had zero detectable particulate output when it was running properly. Plus it made the wood last a lot longer.

        Burning wood is air pollution no matter how you slice it, and people need to be strongly encouraged to do it as efficiently as possible. Just like vehicle regulations this only applies to newly manufactured stoves, and all those rural conspiracy theory fruit loops ranting about EPA SWAT teams coming to break down their door and take away their fireplace are just that; fruit loops. This is really much ado about not very much.

    • by swamp_ig ( 466489 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @12:42AM (#45380969)

      The busybodies in our government have no problem throwing the poor under the bus to achieve some feel-good goal so they can go home to their mansions at night and feel good about themselves. They're hurting real people.

      All this rule changes is the efficiency for NEW wood burning stoves. It doesn't make them even cost any more. It just means they run more efficiently and put out less smoke. Pre-existing stoves don't need to be pulled out or anything.

      So for the rural poor that means less cost for heating (or work of chopping wood if you prefer), and less lung disease, for really no increased cost.

      Can't see that as a bad thing.

    • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @12:50AM (#45381031) Homepage Journal

      I live in rural South Carolina where wood stoves are the only source of heat for many many people.

      I did a Google search for "buy efa-compliant wood stoves" (duh) and found lots of stoves for under $1,000, some of them $6-700.

      They can continue to use their old wood stoves. They just can't buy a new wood stove that isn't compliant.

      There's a reason for that. Wood (and coal) stoves really are dangerous to have in your home, because of the air pollution. It's like smoking a pack a day of cigarettes. They increase the rate of lung and heart diseases significantly.

      If they do buy a new stove, they won't have those pollution problems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:12PM (#45380401)

    Meanwhile, Diesel trucking rumbles on.

  • by blankinthefill ( 665181 ) <> on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:15PM (#45380413) Journal
    I have lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, which has roughly 100,000 people in and around it, and is basically isolated other than that. During the winter, particulate pollution is insanely bad, and even worse when you consider how small the city is. This is due, mainly, to the amount of wood burning stoves that are used to heat houses. Now, it's exacerbated by the valley that the town is in and the extreme cold, but most of it's terribleness comes from the wood burning in the area. After seeing that, I want to support stronger regulations or even bans on wood burning. On the other hand, many of the people in Fairbanks that burn wood do so because it's the cheapest method they can use to heat their houses, and they can't afford other methods (natural gas is not available in Fairbanks for heating, or at least not cheaply). I don't know what they're supposed to do if these regulations increase the cost associated with wood burning very much... not heating your house when it's -50 out is just not an option.
    • by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:21PM (#45380453)

      That's one major reason I wanted to bring this story here. Poor choices regarding the regulation of wood stoves can (as those regulations squeeze the availability of these stoves) result in deaths, especially since manufacturing repair parts for "illegal" stoves is a consequence of "you can't manufacture these stoves."

      It's not like people use wood stoves to drive the kids to school; they're mostly used to avoid the hazards of freezing temperatures in the winter. Frostbite and hypothermia aren't commonly seen as positive outcomes of government regulations.

      • by nbauman ( 624611 )

        Poor choices regarding the regulation of wood stoves can (as those regulations squeeze the availability of these stoves) result in deaths,

        If you're going to talk about deaths, old-style wood-burning stoves are a major cause of indoor air pollution, and they cause a significant increase in eventually-fatal lung and heart disease. It's like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. In round numbers, it would cost you about 10 years of life expectancy.

        That's why we have air pollution regulations. People were literally [sic] dropping dead in the street. [] [] https://en.w []

  • already happened (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:17PM (#45380427) Journal
    We gave up our wood stove when fire insurance prices increased to make it more expensive than an air conditioning unit (which can be run as a heater).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:22PM (#45380463)

    As someone who lives in a rural area and burns wood as a secondary heat source (oil is primary), I think this may be getting blown out of proportion. For years they've been driving up efficiency of wood-stoves, and most stoves on the market today probably already meet the new standards. Looking at the list, the (non-catalytic) stove I bought 8 years ago (to replace a 30% efficiency old stove) will still be legal to sell under the new rules. I do find the practice of banning the use of existing stoves terrible, but driving up the efficiency of stoves is a good thing, and my current stove produces much more heat than the stove it replaced.

    • by Nimey ( 114278 )

      This story does sound a lot like the Republicans screaming ZOMG OBAMA'S TAKING AWAY OUR INCANDESCENT BULBS when it was really Congress saying "oh, hey, light bulbs have to be x% efficient now, but if you can get an incandescent bulb up there, go for it."

      • Yes, engineers that specialize in thermodynamics and combustion know how to get less smoke out of wood. Their work results in newer, more efficient stove designs. That's kind of what the entire article is about.

        That said, the new requirements are mandating technology that was brand new a hell of a long time ago. They aren't mandating brand spanking new, super-duper, mega-expensive stoves. They're mandating stuff that's been in the stores for many, many decades at this point.
    • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Sunday November 10, 2013 @12:15AM (#45380791) Homepage

      As someone who lives in a rural area and burns wood as a secondary heat source (oil is primary), I think this may be getting blown out of proportion.

      An overblown story on a website with headlines like "How To Turn Your Home Into A Fortress!" and "Obama Ex-Bodyguard Says Scandals 'Worse Than People Know'"? An overblown story based on an editorial from the Washington Times? An overblown story that defends woodsmoke air pollution by saying it's not as bad as being in a car with a cigarette smoker? Impossible!

      Seriously, this article screams "CRANK!". Actual fact: EPA tightens pollution regulations on new wood stoves. Crank interpretation: Obama wants people to freeze to death.

  • by jelwell ( 2152 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:26PM (#45380499)

    In other news, most fireplaces are inefficient anyways. []

    Currently home builders have little incentive to put an efficient stove into their buildings. At least in my neck of the woods. This is just a step in that direction: Efficient wood burning devices that pollute less.
    Joseph Elwell.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:34PM (#45380535)

    We have a wood stove. We haven't used it much for a couple years; but when we did, we did our best to let our wood dry out for a year before burning, and also to keep our fires hot and well oxygenated. As such, you generally wouldn't see smoke coming out of our chimney, just hot air. (That still releases some particulates, I realize)

    But a lot of people around here burn wood that's been cut fairly recently, so it still contains a lot of moisture. On top of that, they often manage room temperature by damping - limiting the air flow to the fire . Both practices throw huge amounts of smoke/particulates into the air. I always cringe when I go by a house with smoke belching out the chimney as if it were an old coal-burning freight train.

    People bitch and moan about the government meddling in their homes, but in this case it's their own fault. We all have to breathe that exhaust.

    • So has anyone put together a "best practices" guide for wood stoves + handling of wood?

  • by rcb1974 ( 654474 ) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @11:36PM (#45380541) Homepage
    I have a Jotul F500 stove. It is 75% efficient. [] When I burn dry wood and the stove is hot, there is no smoke coming out the chimney. Everything gets consumed. The stove recirculates any smoke inside the stove until it is completely burned. If you stand outside my house no matter which side you're on, you don't smell any smoke, and the gases coming out the chimney are clear. I'm guessing that many perceived problems with stoves are caused by people who don't know how to properly operate their stoves. They're burning wet wood, they have a very old inefficient stove, they aren't controlling the airflow well, they aren't burning outside air, etc. A modern wood stove is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to heat your house. You're burning renewable energy. I'm bothered by people here in upstate NY who put anti-fraking signs in their hard but who also heat with gas. Hypocrites.
  • R-Value (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eriks ( 31863 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @12:34AM (#45380913) Homepage

    In places where it gets very cold, the way to do it (as others I think are pointing out) is retrofit-assistance and (probably more importantly) insulation assistance programs, like we have in much of New England, so that people can still burn wood, but burn a lot less of it, and actually be more comfortable. Our small house has been well insulated recently and I expect to go from using around 600 gallons of oil a year to around 400, maybe even 300 if I'm careful. If I was using wood, there would be a similar decrease in the amount of wood I'd need to burn to stay warm.

    In the 21st century, it just makes plain sense that building envelope and R-value should be every homeowner's first and second thoughts when heating any home, especially when doing so with the intent to keep from freezing to death. In a (very) well insulted home, it's possible to (easily) keep from freezing to death with little more than a few warm bodies, good clothing and maybe candle or two -- so a high-efficiency heating device, much smaller than you'd need in a conventionally-insulated house, will easily keep you very comfortable in such a home.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @01:41AM (#45381283) Homepage Journal

    I support raising the standards for new stoves, but since many people with not much money depend on the things, I think they over did it by banning trade-ins unless rendered inoperative. If they feel that strongly, there should be a tax credit on the trade-in to compensate for the lost value of that trade-in. That would make it perfectly reasonable.

  • This is a big deal (Score:4, Informative)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @02:00AM (#45381383)
    Most people don't realize, but wood-burning is the sleeping giant of renewable energy. It's the largest form of renewable energy consumption in the U.S. If you look at the EIA's energy source breakdown [], wood falls under biomass. It comprises about half the total renewable energy we produce, and accounts for nearly twice as much energy as hydroelectric (the next largest renewable). Even for electricity generation which isn't wood's forte (heating is), wood is third after hydro and wind, and far ahead of PV solar.

    I'm all for cleaner wood-burning stoves. But it has to be done in a cost-effective manner, lest you drive people to dirtier options like coal or oil.

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