If you decide to burn wood, EPA encourages you to use the cleanest wood-burning appliance possible. When choosing appliances, consider the size of the room - or rooms - you'll be heating. Your local hearth retailer can help you make the best choice and can provide you with options to suit your needs and budget.
- What is the difference between an EPA-certified and EPA-qualified appliance?
- Choosing an EPA-certified wood stove
- Choosing an EPA-qualified fireplace
- Choosing an EPA-qualified hydronic heater (outdoor wood boiler)
- Additional resources
- Installation and maintenance resources
What is the difference between an EPA-certified and EPA-qualified appliance?
An EPA-certified appliance must adhere to regulatory emission requirements established by EPA. At this time only wood stoves and some pellet stoves may be considered "EPA certified." By law, wood stove manufacturers may only sell wood stoves and wood stove inserts that meet EPA's mandatory smoke emission limit of 7.5 grams of smoke per hour (g/h) for non-catalytic stoves and 4.1 g/h for catalytic stoves. (Wood stoves offered for sale in the state of Washington must meet a limit of 4.5 g/h for non-catalytic stoves and 2.5 g/h for catalytic stoves.) Learn more.
Fireplaces and hydronic heaters (outdoor wood boilers) are not currently regulated by EPA. However, manufacturers of these appliances may choose to meet voluntary emission standards set by EPA. Apppliances that meet the voluntary requirements are considered "EPA-qualified." While these units are NOT certified by EPA, they do burn more cleanly than older models that are not qualified. Always check your state or local air quality agency to determine the types of wood-burning appliances that are approved for use in your area.
Check for the EPA label
Choosing an EPA-certified wood stove
If you are considering the purchase of a new wood stove or wood-burning fireplace insert, or are trying to determine if your current wood stove is EPA-certified under EPA regulations, check the:
You can also look for the permanent metal EPA certification label on the back of the stove. Additional information can be found on the wood stove page.
Choosing an EPA-qualified fireplace and fireplace retrofit device
EPA's wood-burning fireplace program encourages the development and sale of lower-emitting wood-burning fireplaces. The program covers new masonry and prefabricated (low-mass) fireplaces and retrofit devices for existing fireplaces. Fireplace retrofits can reduce pollution by approximately 70% if installed properly. To find fireplaces that qualify under the program go to:
EPA qualified units often carry a temporary hang tag to demonstrate that these models are cleaner burning. A permanent EPA qualifying label may be viewed prior to installation of the unit. Additional information can be found on the fireplace page.
*The wood-burning appliances that are "qualified" under the EPA Voluntary Fireplace Program are not "certified" per EPA's Wood Heater New Source Performance Standard. Contact your state or local air quality agency for clarification on the type of wood-burning appliances, if any, that may legally be installed in your area.
Choosing an EPA-qualified hydronic heater (outdoor wood boiler)
EPA also has a voluntary program to encourage manufacturers of hydronic heaters to produce cleaner models. To find hydronic heaters that qualify under the voluntary program go to:
* The wood-burning appliances that are "qualified" under the EPA's Voluntary Hydronic Heater and Fireplace Programs are not "certified" per EPA's Wood Heater New Source Performance Standard. Contact your state or local air quality agency for clarification on the type of wood-burning appliances, if any, that may legally be installed in your area.
EPA qualified units often carry a temporary hang tag on the front of the hydronic heater to demonstrate that these models have met EPA qualifications to be considered cleaner burning. A permanent metal EPA qualifying label can be found either in a readily visible location on the exterior of the unit or inside the door. Additional information can be found on the hydronic heater page.
- Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) - Association Web site for outdoor wood heaters, wood stoves and other related industries
- HPBA's Responsible Wood-burning Fact Sheets - Responsible wood burning will provide efficient and economical home heating - as well as reduce your home energy costs and protect your neighborhood air quality.
- Alliance for Green Heat - Provides information on choosing appliances and federal and state policies.
- Wise Heat - Provides alternative heating reviews and information.
- Hearth.com - A comprehensive website that will help you find most any hearth product you are looking for and/or address any of your hearth questions.
- How much heat does that room need? - Allows consumers to estimate the amount of BTUs required to heat a room by entering in the room’s dimensions.
- Fuel Efficiency Calculator (Excel spreadsheet) (137k) - An on-line calculator that provides a cost comparison between different fuel types including wood, gas, oil, and electric.
Installation and Maintenance Resources
- National Fireplace Institute - An independent, non-profit certification agency that provides certification for proper installation of hearth products.
- Chimney Safety Institute of America - A non-profit, educational organization dedicated to chimney and venting system safety.