In the long lead-up to the EPA’s new rules on wood and pellet stoves and boilers, there have been many claims, predictions and fears. Here is a summary of the key points in the rule that will impact you, the consumer.
The rule becomes law on Friday, May 15, 2015 but don’t expect to see many, if any, changes in your local hearth store until Jan. 1, 2016. Scroll to the bottom to see a timeline of implementation. This rule is an NSPS – a New Source Performance Standard – established by the EPA with input from industry, states and other stakeholders.
Wood stoves: Consumers will barely notice any change until 2020. As of 2016, stoves must not emit more than 4.5 grams an hour of particulates and after May 15, 2020, 2 grams an hour. The biggest near term change is that the really cheap, uncertified stoves will no longer be on the market after Jan. 1, 2016. (These stoves, often made in China, sold for $ 300 – $ 600.)
Pellet stoves: Consumers will not notice much change here either. As of Jan. 1, 2016 all pellet stoves will have to be certified by the EPA. Some models are also likely to get more efficient. In 2020, pellet stoves also have to emit no more than 2 grams an hour. Most pellet stoves already meet the 2020 standard.
Prices: There should be no short term price rises, but in the longer term some manufacturers say their stove prices may go up $ 300 – $ 400 in 2020. Others say their prices won’t rise at all.
Retail “sell-through” period: Retailers have until Dec. 31, 2015 to sell existing stock. Many retailers don’t carry anything that can’t be sold under the new rules anyway. Beware of sales this summer and fall that are trying to unload inefficient stoves and boilers before its unlawful to sell them.
Existing and second hand stoves: Existing stoves are not impacted by these rules, nor is the vibrant second hand market for wood stoves. States can regulate existing and uncertified stoves and Washington and Oregon do not allow anyone to install an uncertified stove off the second hand market. All states allow consumers to purchase and install second hand certified stoves. (How to buy a second-hand EPA certified stove.)
Corn, coal and multi-fuel stoves: Corn and coal stoves are not covered by EPA rules and can continue to be sold without any government emission regulation, so long as they don’t advertise that they can also use wood or pellets. To advertise a multi-fuel stove that can use pellets and corn, the stove has to be certified for pellets and also tested with corn. There is no threshold for emission with corn, but stove has to also be tested with corn and that data must be submitted to the EPA. (More on corn stoves.)
Misleading advertising: Most manufacturers have posted unverified and exaggerated efficiency claims on their brochures and websites. The new rules specify how stove efficiency is to be tested and reported, and companies may start posting verified efficiencies by May 15, 2015. It is unknown if the EPA will crack down on the rampant exaggerated and misleading efficiency claims. Blaze King and Seraph are only companies that provide verified, accurate efficiency numbers of all their stoves to consumers and the EPA. Beware of any stove that advertises over 83% efficiency.
Efficiency: There is no minimum efficiency standard, but the new rule requires efficiency testing and reporting. To date, most companies have treated verified efficiency as confidential records. Some companies are beginning to voluntarily disclose a few efficiency numbers.
New hangtags: The EPA is getting rid of the old hang tags that consumers were accustomed to on the showroom floor. Instead, they are issuing special, voluntary hang tags only for those stoves and boilers that already meet the stricter Step 2 standards (2 grams and hour) or that have been designed and tested with cord wood. This will help consumers more easily identify the cleaner stoves and those that are designed to be used with cordwood – the same type of fuel that consumers use. (Currently, all stoves are tested with 2x4s and 4x4s, which burn very differently than cord wood.)
Carbon monoxide (CO): The new rules do not limit the amount of CO that can be emitted but require that it be tested and reported. As with efficiency, it is still unclear if CO levels from existing stoves will be available before 2020.
Stoves tested with cordwood: The rules set up an alternative, voluntary compliance option for Step 2 emission levels of 2.5 grams an hour for stoves tested with cord wood. This recognizes leaders in the industry who are optimizing their stoves for using cord wood and encourages other manufacturers to follow their example.
Export stoves: US manufacturers can continue to make and sell their existing stoves that do not meet the new EPA standards in other countries. Uncertified stoves with no emission controls or testing can be sold in most of the world. US stove companies are also increasingly exporting to countries that have emission standards, like Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. These stoves have to be labeled as an “export stove. May not be sold or operated within the United States.”
Masonry Heaters: The EPA did not set emission standards for masonry heaters in this rule, but asked the Masonry Heater Association to further develop a testing standard so that they could be included in the next NSPS, which should be in 2023.
Fireplaces: The new rules do not apply to fireplaces, but there is a voluntary method for cleaner fireplaces to be tested and qualified by the EPA. This rule does not even refer to the voluntary program, which may mean there is little interest in including fireplaces in the next NSPS.
Owners manuals: Owners manuals will be updated as of May 15, 2015. Updated manuals will have more detail and must instruct operators how to get optimal performance from the stove or boiler.
Litigation: The deadline to file suit over this rule was May 15, 2015. The main stove and boiler industry association, the HPBA, has indicated it will be filing suit, probably over the 2020 emission standards. Air quality groups are joining that suit to defend it from being weakened or delayed. PFI is suing over the authority of the EPA to regulate pellet fuel. Tulikivi is suing because they want masonry heaters to be a regulated technology. Several other companies are also challenging the EPA in court.
Role of states: Several states have passed resolutions barring state agencies from enforcing this NSPS but the rule clearly states that it does “not impose any requirements on state and local governments.” To date, Missouri, Michigan and Virginia have passed laws barring state enforcement, largely a symbolic gesture. A number of other states will be helping to implement and enforce the NSPS to achieve cleaner air in their states and protect consumers.
Boilers: Like stoves, boilers must meet Step 1 emission limits by May 15. Retailers can still sell older, uncertified and unqualified boilers through Dec. 31, 2015. In 2020, they must meet stricter emission limits. Due to a schism between domestic boiler manufacturers and those importing more advanced European technology, most test labs are not willing to test use one of EPA approved boiler test methods. There in still uncertainty about how one boiler test method, EN3030-5, is treated under the new rule.
Warm air furnaces: Furnaces that heat air, instead of water, got a reprieve from the EPA after intensive advocacy by industry and pressure from Congress. Small ones have to meet Step 1 emission standards by May 15, 2016 and large ones not until May 15, 2017.
Boiler and furnace prices: Unlike stoves, options for consumers will change more, since the boiler furnace industry had not been regulated and many low-cost, low-efficiency units were on the market. Prices – and efficiencies- are likely to rise significantly but operating costs will be significantly lower.
Moisture meters: Conventional uncertified forced air furnaces and then certified ones must come with a free moisture meter. (Some advocates had urged all stoves to come with moisture meters.)
Comments? If you think we have omitted important information in the NSPS for consumers, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The EPA’s BurnWise website
- Position of the main industry association, the HPBA
- EPA Rules Begin Cleaner Chapter for Wood Heating
- Air Quality Groups Intervene in Industry Lawsuit Against EPA
- Talks Yield Some Consensus Between Industry, Enviro Groups
- Independent Stove Manufacture Challenges Stove Industry Positions on NSPS
The rule turns into legislation on Friday, Could 15, but will not expect to see many, if any, adjustments in your nearby hearth store until finally Jan. 1, 2016.   Scroll to the bottom to see a timeline of implementation.
Wooden stoves: Shoppers will scarcely notice any adjust right up until 2020.  As of 2016, stoves need to not emit a lot more than four.five grams and right after May fifteen, 2020, two grams an hour.  The most significant around term modify is that the actually cheap, uncertified stoves will no longer be on the market place after Jan. 1, 2016.  (These stoves, typically manufactured in China, sold for $ 300 – $ 600.)
Pellet stoves: Buyers will not discover considerably change listed here both.  As of Jan. 1, 2016 all pellet stoves will have to be accredited by the EPA.  Some designs are also very likely to get a lot more productive.  In 2020, pellet stoves also have to emit no more than two grams an hour.  Most pellet stoves currently meet up with the 2020 normal.
Costs: There need to be no short time period price tag rises, but some companies say their prices may go up $ three hundred – $ four hundred in 2020.  Other folks say their prices won’t rise at all.
Retail “sell-through” period of time: Suppliers have until Dec. 31, 2015 to sell present stock.  Many stores do not carry something that can’t be offered below the new guidelines in any case. Beware of revenue this summer season and slide that are striving to unload inefficient stoves and boilers ahead of its unlawful to sell them!
Existing and next hand stoves: Existing stoves are not impacted by these principles, nor is the vibrant next hand marketplace for wooden stoves. States can regulate current and uncertified stoves and Washington and Oregon do not enable any person to set up an uncertified stove off the second hand market place.  All states enable customers to purchase and install 2nd hand licensed stoves.
Corn, coal and multi-gasoline stoves: Corn and coal stoves are not coated by EPA policies and can carry on to be marketed without any federal government emission regulation, so extended as they will not market that they can also use wood or pellets. Multi-gasoline stoves are no longer allowed.  Accredited stoves can only be marketed for the fuel that they are examined with, and there is not yet a check strategy for corn or coal.
Misleading promoting: Most companies have posted unverified and exaggerated efficiency claims on their brochures and sites.  The new principles specify how stove effectiveness is to be tested and noted, but its nonetheless mysterious if the EPA will crack down on the rampant exaggerated and misleading performance statements.  Blaze King and Seraph are only businesses that offer verified, correct performance figures of all their stoves to customers and the EPA.  Beware of any stove that advertises more than 83% efficiency.
Efficiency: The EPA will start to demand effectiveness tests and reporting, but ninety five% of existing stoves will not have to be examined until 2020, so handful of stoves will be required to publish performance quantities.  To day, most organizations nonetheless deal with confirmed efficiency as private documents.
New hangtags: The EPA is receiving rid of the aged hang tags that consumers have been accustomed to on the showroom ground.  Instead, they are issuing particular, voluntary cling tags only for those stoves and boilers that presently meet the stricter Step 2 specifications (2 grams and hour) or that have been made and analyzed with cord wood. This will support shoppers far more effortlessly recognize the cleaner stoves and people that are made to be used with cordwood – the same variety of gas that customers use.  (At present, all stoves are analyzed with 2x4s and 4x4s, which burn off very differently than wire wood.)
Carbon monoxide (CO): The new principles do not limit the quantity of CO that can be emitted but call for that it be analyzed and documented. As with effectiveness, it is nonetheless unclear if CO levels from existing stoves will be obtainable before 2020.
Stoves examined with cordwood: The policies established up an option, voluntary compliance option for Stage two emission stages of 2.five grams an hour for stoves examined with twine wood.  This recognizes leaders in the industry who are optimizing their stoves for using twine wooden and encourages other producers to follow their case in point.
Export stoves: US producers can continue to make and promote stoves with no emission controls or tests to nations that even now let this.  These stoves have to be labeled as an “export stove. Could not be offered or operated within the United States.”
Litigation: The deadline to file match over this rule is Might fifteen, 2015.  The major stove and boiler industry association, the HPBA, has indicated it will be filing suit, most likely above the cost usefulness of the 2020 emission requirements.  Air quality or environmental groups might also sue, claiming the new specifications are as well lax. Our lawful professionals say that a go well with from both aspect would be hard to acquire.
Boilers: Like stoves, boilers must fulfill Stage one emission boundaries by Might 15.  Retailers can still offer more mature, uncertified and unqualified boilers through Dec. 31, 2015.  In 2020, they have to fulfill stricter emission limitations.  Due to a schism between domestic boiler manufacturers and people importing far more superior European technologies, most examination labs are not willing to take a look at the imported units.  They may possibly face limitations to turning out to be certified by Jan. one, 2016.
Warm air furnaces: Furnaces that heat air, instead of water, got a reprieve from the EPA after intense advocacy by industry and force from Congress.  Small types have to satisfy Step 1 emission standards by May 15, 2016 and big kinds not until finally May 15, 2017.
Value: As opposed to stoves, possibilities for consumers will adjust much more, since the boiler furnace market had not been controlled and a lot of low-cost, lower-performance models were on the market place.  Prices – and efficiencies- are likely to rise substantially but running fees will be significantly lower.
Humidity meters: Furnaces have to appear with a free dampness meter as of Jan. 1, 2016.  (Some advocates experienced urged all stoves to appear with moisture meters.)
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