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Burn Wise

Consumers -
Choosing Appliances

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Video Guide

How to select a new stove for home heat
Department of Ecology, State of Washington Exit EPA disclaimer - A Quick Guide on How to Select a New Stove for Home Heat.


How to Burn Wise
HPBA's Burn Wise Video Guide Exit EPA disclaimer - A Video Guide to Operating Your Wood Stove Efficiently

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?

An EPA-certified appliance must adhere to regulatory emission requirements established by EPA.  At this time wood stoves, pellet stoves and hydronic heaters (outdoor wood boilers) may be considered "EPA certified" under the EPA’s 2015 revised New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Residential Wood Heaters.  Fireplaces are not currently regulated under the NSPS.  However, fireplace manufacturers may choose to meet voluntary emission standards set by EPA.  Appliances 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 agencyto determine the types of wood-burning appliances that are approved for use in your area.

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Check for the EPA label

image of back of wood stove with EPA label

Choosing an EPA-certified room heater (wood stove, pellet stove, or fireplace insert)

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.

Learn more about Your Old Wood Stove's Dirty Little Secret (PDF) (2pp, 3.4MB, About PDF) and Burn Wise Tips (PDF) (1pg, 67k, About PDF).

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Choosing an EPA-certified hydronic heater (outdoor wood boiler)

EPA Hydronic Heater Program (Terminated):

The voluntary EPA hydronic heater program was first launched in 2007, providing a process for manufactures to demonstrate that their models were 70 percent cleaner than unqualified models. The goal of the program was to achieve emission reductions and protect public health sooner than a federal rule.  The program evolved to Phase 2, and EPA-qualified units were up to 90 percent cleaner than older unqualified units.

Now that EPA has included hydronic heaters as an affected source under the revised NSPS effective May 15, 2015, the Voluntary Hydronic Heater Program has been terminated.

The following spreadsheet: Updated EPA Certified Hydronic Heaters (Final) contains a list of Hydronic Heaters (HH) formerly included in the Voluntary Program that meet Step 1, and in some cases Step 2, of the 2015 NSPS and are therefore deemed to be certified.  Some models previously in the Voluntary program are not deemed certified under the NSPS because they were tested with the previous hydronic heater test method: M28 OWHH.  However, the 2015 NSPS did provide a sell-through period for these models which gives manufacturers and retailers a chance to sell them up to December 31, 2015.  After this date these models: Hydronic Heater Sell-Through List (Final) can no longer be sold in the United States.

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image of fireplace hang tag

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. 

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Additional resources

  • Wise Heat Exit EPA disclaimer - Provides alternative heating reviews and information.
  • Hearth.com Exit EPA disclaimer - A comprehensive website that will help you find most any hearth product you are looking for and/or address any of your hearth questions.

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Installation and Maintenance Resources

  • National Fireplace Institute Exit EPA disclaimer - An independent, non-profit certification agency that provides certification for proper installation of hearth products.

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