> USE A LOW EMISSION HEARTH PRODUCT:
There are many types of low emission wood-burning hearth products available for new construction and existing homes. The key is determining the type of product, as well as the right type of wood fuel, to meet your needs.
• EPA-Certified Wood Stoves and Wood Fireplace Inserts:
All wood stoves and wood fireplace inserts manufactured and sold today in the United States are required to meet strict emission standards and to be certified by EPA. To meet this standard, all stoves must prove emissions of less than 7.5 grams of particulate per hour. All EPA-certified wood stoves and fireplace inserts have a permanent label on the back that bears the name of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Canada does not have a certification program but does recommend the purchase of EPA-certified products.
• Pellet Stoves and Pellet Fireplace Inserts:
Pellet stoves and pellet fireplace inserts burn wood pellets made from recycled sawdust and are the lowest emission wood burners available. Because of their very low emissions, pellet stoves and pellet fireplace inserts are exempt from EPA-certification.
• Masonry Heaters:
Masonry heaters are high performance, very clean burning and substantially-sized wood burners that produce a tremendous amount of heat. Similar to pellet appliances, masonry heaters are exempt from EPA-certification.
• Cleaner-Burning Masonry Fireplaces:
There are cleaner wood-burning fireplaces that look much like traditional fireplaces but produce fewer emissions than EPA-certified wood
>UPGRADE TRADITIONAL FIREPLACES:
Install an EPA-certified fireplace insert or a pellet fireplace insert into an existing fireplace.
>CHANGEOUT OLD WOOD STOVES OR FIREPLACE INSERTS:
People with older wood stoves and inserts can cut emissions substantially by replacing these appliances with a low-emission hearth product. After changing out an old wood stove or fireplace insert, it is important to take the stove out of circulation so it can never be used again. In some jurisdictions around the country, it is illegal to install these old products. The most environmentally-friendly step is to have these hearth products recycled by a local steel recycler.
>USE SEASONED FIREWOOD: Seasoned firewood has around 20 percent moisture content and should be stacked and dried for six months before burning. Seasoned wood is easier to light and will burn more readily and efficiently. The type of seasoned firewood also impacts the fire. Hardwoods such as oak, hickory and elm tend to produce a longer-lasting fire.
>BUILD SMALL HOT FIRES: To reduce emissions, use smaller pieces of seasoned firewood and build small hot fires.
>START A FIRE WITH A FIRE STARTER: The best way to start a wood-burning fire is with balled newspaper and kindling or a solid fire starter.
>USE MANUFACTURED FIRELOGS: Sawdust manufactured firelogs (no wax) are ideal for occasional use in a traditional fireplace to cut emissions. Sawdust-only firelogs can be used in both fireplaces and wood stoves and also reduce wood smoke.
>USE HEARTH PRODUCTS CORRECTLY AND PERFORM SERVICE REGULARLY: Consult a specialty retailer about how to use hearth products correctly, follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for the hearth product, and have your hearth product serviced regularly by a professional certified by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI).