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Downdraft Wooden Stoves: Consumers Beware

Posted by Earth Stove on September 21, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , ,

The simplicity of the non-catalytic stove helps make it the most well-known sort of stove in North The united states by much.&nbsp With most non-cats, the buyer only requirements to fret about a one lever to regulate the quantity of air in the firebox.&nbsp But some shoppers unwittingly buy a extremely unique sort of non-cat, a &nbspdowndraft stove, and often regret it.

These days there are only a handful of downdraft stoves on the marketplace, Most have been pushed apart by non-cat stoves with air tubes that reburn smoke as it exits the firebox.&nbsp The downdraft stove works with a next lever that engages a by-move damper which forces the smoke down into a chamber the place heat can reburn it ahead of it goes again up the chimney.&nbsp
Nearly all stoves on the industry today do not consider to get smoke to go down, but rather try out to reburn it on its journey upward with secondary air launched by way of holes in tubes or in higher wall of stove – or with a catalyst. Hybrids use the two tubes to inject for secondary air and a catalyst. &nbsp(Click below for a lot more on cat, non-cat and hybrid stoves.)
Downdraft stoves tend to be finicky, require to be really sizzling to function appropriately and are far more inclined to leaking smoke into the property.&nbsp Most buyers must not take into account them until they know what they are obtaining into and are ready to be a lot a lot more engaged with their stove.&nbsp The same can be said about catalytic stoves.&nbsp Customers should comprehend that they need to know how to use the next lever that engages the by-move damper and from time to time check the catalyst, and exchange it when it requirements replacing.

Stove modify out applications, that switch out outdated stoves with new, EPA certified types could want to exclude downdraft stoves from eligible replacements as they could be the most difficult class of stove to operate regularly without having seen smoke.

The downdraft stove turned common in the 1980s when Vermont Castings employed it to extract much more heat from a stove and to support go the emission testing required by the state of Oregon, and later by the EPA. &nbspThe by-go damper aided sluggish down the hearth, create turbulence, and extract a lot more warmth from the very hot gases ahead of they went up the stack. The Resolute Acclaim, a single of the most well-known wooden stoves of the final century, was a downdraft stove.&nbsp It clocked in at 3.4 grams for each hour and ongoing selling via the 2000s, but has given that been taken out of creation.
Today, there are a handful of downdraft stoves on the industry, including the Lopi Leyden and the Avalon Arbor (which are evidently the same stove).&nbsp The&nbspHarman TL300 is also a downdrafter and Vermont Castings still has one particular or two.
The authentic Frankin stove
was a downdraft with no
front door and typically
created for a smoky house.

Downdraft stoves have existed for centuries in numerous patterns. The authentic stove invented by Ben Franklin also experienced a downdraft included into the layout, and it is a single of the causes that the stove was so finicky and disfavored by the greater part of buyers. Franklin himself admitted that the stove was tough to function and took lots of interest and was not anything that “could be left to the servants.” &nbspLater iterations of the Franklin stove included a doorway and most received rid of the downdraft.

Customer feedback is a leading chat place for wood stove specialists and rookies alike. It consists of a good deal of very good suggestions on downdraft stoves:
– “The creosote smell when closing the bypass is not an uncommon situation with the downdrafting stoves. I’ve seen Harman stove owners complain with it as nicely. I will often get it. Occasionally not. It is not noxious, just a faint odor that I can do with out. CO keep track of pays it no head.”
– “I want a team of downdrafters could get their heads collectively on this a single and figure out what is likely on. It really is a frequent problem to different stoves. Possibly that box complete of smoke is permitting some escape at the joints.”
– “I’ve smelled it when the draft was robust, but typically it comes when the flue has begun to awesome down a little. Loading lid was a key suspect, but I regasketed it and sat a solid iron pot on there.”
– “Downdraft stoves are notoriously fussy and demanding of a robust draft.”
– “The Leyden has gone through a handful of modifications of the several years. There are some ports that require complete cleaning “Regular monthly” as properly and they are not effortless to get to. Make certain these ports are cleaned frequently. Your guide shows how to do this properly.”
– “These stoves have to be critically very hot to perform.”
– “I occasionally get a bit of smoke when loading. Mainly due to the fact I am way too lazy to do it proper. Once more, operate the stove as developed and if it will not perform, get a appear at the flue, check out for ash buildup, etc.. … your flue style is gonna be a tough one.”
– “I don’t want to melt your stove down, but my hunch is that you might be not acquiring it sizzling enough on a three-four” coal mattress.”
– “Is the wooden really properly seasoned? That is very important with this stove as is a good draft.”
– “I would try working your stove leading temperature a small larger (650-seven-hundred) prior to you go to secondary melt away, generally you get some fall in stovetop temperature when you near the damper.”
– “The Lopi Leyden is a extremely problematic stove. You don’t want it, imagine me!”
– “I also propose to consider off the Vermont Castings Resolute and Lopi Leyden. Equally use a various system to obtain a thoroughly clean burn up than the other non-catalytic stoves. The two stoves typically have a steeper understanding curve, can be vulnerable to expensive repairs and are greater suited for entire-time burners which does not look to be your intention.”
– “As other individuals have talked about, the Oakwood (and other downdrafts like Lopi Leyden and specified Vermont Castings types) can be a little bit fussy about dry wood and good draft, requires a little bit a lot more babysitting and for a longer time studying curve, and is not well suited to slower/reduced burns in months like November and April.”
– “You want a stove with tubes in the leading or a catalyst. Avoid stoves that attract smoke down into the back of the stove. For instance: Vermont Castings, some Harman’s and Lopi Leyden.”

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What Consumers Need to Know about New EPA Wood Stove Rules

Posted by Earth Stove on June 26, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,
Updated: May 31, 2015

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.

Pellet fuel: All new pellet stoves must be tested and warrantied to use with pellets that are certified by a third party entity – either the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI), ENplus or CANplus. Consumers will see more and more pellets certified by one of those entities, which means they meet certain quality and consistency standards.

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 & Furnaces

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.

Loophole for unregulated outdoor boilers: Manufacturers of unregulated outdoor wood boilers can continue to make and sell these units for “commercial” applications.  However, one outdoor boiler company has already indicated that as long as the customer assures the dealer that the unit will be used for commercial purposes, its up to the consumer to use it as they please.

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

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NSA Admits to Spying on Pellet Stove Consumers

Posted by Earth Stove on April 5, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , ,

April one, 2014 – Buried in the paperwork leaded by Edward Snowden is a report indicating that the Nationwide Protection Company has been monitoring the amount of sounds from pellet stove fans by means of the homeowner pcs and mobile telephones it routinely faucets.&nbsp It is even now unclear what the NSA plans to do […]