Wood stoves have come a long way since their creation in the 1700s. Ben Franklin created the "Franklin stove" after a wood shortage in Philadelphia encouraged him to improve on the existing open hearth. While his wood stove didn't gain immediate popularity, by the 1900s, 40 million American homes were heated with wood stoves.
With the explosion in wood burning heaters, suburban areas found their air quality steadily declining. Many people left stoves burning overnight that caused lingering, smoky fires, which damaged the surrounding air. By the 1980s, the EPA started cracking down on standards for wood stoves. Their new regulations allowed less than 6 grams per hour of wood stove emissions. In 2020, that regulation tightened even further to 2 grams per hour.
With these new restrictions, you have to wonder, if you bought a wood stove decades ago, is it legal to use it now? Will the government come and take your stove away if they find out it doesn't meet EPA requirements? Thankfully, stoves installed before May 2020 are not required to meet the regulations put in place at that time. Older stoves are subject to whatever EPA standard was in place at the time they were built.
Modern wood stoves, or at least the ones manufactured in the last year or two, are all built ready to meet the 2 grams of emissions or less per hour standard. Though it might seem strict, these emissions standards actually benefit you in the long run. When your wood stove burns cleaner, it also burns slower and uses less wood. So, you save time and money by buying an EPA certified wood stove.
If you have any questions about which wood stove is right for you please give our NFI certified technicians a call at 800.203.1642. You can also read through our library of articles here: Wood Stove articles