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Wood Stoves

printing company in Pittsfield, Mass., has agreed to pay a penalty of $80,000 and to spend $305,000 to replace old, polluting wood stoves in western Massachusetts with new, cleaner models to settle claims by the US Environmental Protection Agency that it violated the federal Clean Air Act. More

Now that all the leaves are changing colors and winter is nipping at our doorsteps many people are turning on the heaters. To save money in the winter many people have turned to wood-burning stoves or burning in their fireplaces to help cut costs. There are many things to consider when choosing firewood such as safety and the amount of heat desired. More

By now everyone who heats with wood should have their wood bin full. The wood you burn this year should have been cut last year or in early spring at the latest. Seasoned wood is a must for optimum heat. If the wood still is green it takes more heat to get the water out and will heat your home less. Also the water in the wood makes for creosote build up in the chimney. Speaking of chimneys, by this time you also should have cleaned your chimney or had a professional do it. More

With winter comes the comfort and smells of hot chocolate, apple cider, delectable holiday treats -- and wood fires. This winter also may mean the chance for Silverthorne residents to install or upgrade wood stoves. From the mid-1990s until two years ago, solid fuel burning devices were banned in Silverthorne because of pollution problems in the valley. But since 2008, there has been a steady reintroduction of permissible devices each year -- first masonry heaters, then pellet stoves. Now, wood stoves are being brought to the town council table for consideration. More

Heating your home with a wood stove this winter? Now is a good time to ensure your wood stove will generate as much heat as possible while protecting your family's health. Wood smoke is a mixture of gases and particles, also called particle pollution, that isn't healthy to breathe indoors or out, especially for children, older adults and people with heart disease, asthma and other lung diseases. Particle pollution can irritate your respiratory system, and is linked to health problems such as bronchitis and asthma attacks. Replacing your wood stove with a model certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can make a big difference. About 75 percent of the 12 million wood stoves used in the U.S. were built before 1990. These stoves put out about 70 percent more wood smoke than the EPA-certified stoves on the market today. These older stoves are also about half as efficient as today's models, meaning you have to burn a lot more wood in your old stove to get the same amount of heat. More

The town of Libby, Mont., is emerging as a model for how to clean the air by replacing old stoves with new ones. Like Chico, Calif., the town is in a valley where wood smoke can get trapped close to the ground during the winter. So, starting in 2005, the local health department replaced nearly 1,200 older stoves with new wood stoves, pellet stoves or gas or electric heat. They used money from the Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Montana, stove industry and other sources. More

More Attleboro, Mass., area residents will be heating their homes with wood pellets, coal and fireplaces next winter than anytime in the recent past, as they seek alternatives to skyrocketing fuel oil and natural gas costs. More

Burning green wood in inefficient stoves can lead to a lot of problems according to the Lung Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada). Greg Noel, the association's director of environmental initiatives set up a booth in a mall recently, promoting the safe and responsible burning of wood. More

Conscientious Oregonians have been storing up firewood for the inevitable cool days of winter, and the experienced wood-gatherers know that dry, seasoned firewood burns most efficiently, provides the most heat and smokes the least.

In fact, unseasoned wood is not suitable for open fireplaces, according to Steve Bowers, a forester with the Douglas County office of the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Ideally, wood should be purchased or gathered at least a year in advance of burning. more.....

Hearth manufacturers say consumers want to save money on energy costs.

American consumers are so concerned with their rising energy bills that they are purchasing various types of wood-burning hearth products at an astounding rate for supplemental warmth and to help save money on energy.

A recent consumer survey by the Arlington, Va.-based Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) finds that more consumers are turning to efficient EPA-approved wood stoves, fireplace inserts, and pellet stoves and inserts to heat their homes. Shipments of pellet stoves and inserts for the first six months of 2008 increased by an amazing 212 percent as compared to the same period in 2007. Wood stoves and inserts increased 54 percent for the same period.

Unlike a fireplace, an EPA-approved freestanding wood stove performs an efficient, controlled burn that generates substantially less smoke than a traditional wood fireplace. These units, made of cast iron or soapstone, store heat, radiating it into the house. This allows the stove, depending on the size of the unit, to heat a space as large as 2,500 square feet. A pellet stove or insert accomplishes the same feat using a renewable, clean-burning fuel made from sawdust or other wood waste.

These hearth products are typically used for zone-style heating of the most frequently used rooms in a home, allowing homeowners to turn down the thermostat on the home's central furnace. This reduces fuel consumption, providing energy savings of up to 20 percent to 40 percent, HPBA says.

According to the HPBA survey, roughly 70 percent of buyers upgraded their fireplaces for energy efficiency; 51 percent did so to help save on heating costs. Additionally, consumers upgrading to an EPA-certified wood stove found that their wood use dropped by one-third because the units improved efficiency over older fireplaces, according to the survey.

Demand for stoves and inserts could continue into next year. Beginning in January 2009, homeowners can take advantage of a $300 federal tax credit to purchase a new pellet or 75-percent-efficient wood stove.

Nigel Maynard is senior editor, products, at BUILDER magazine.

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