First page of the Furnaces archive.

All wood and pellet furnaces must be certified by May 15, 2017

Posted by Earth Stove on May 1, 2017 with No Commentsas , , , , ,
One of the loopholes in the new EPA regulations about to close
The cleanest and most efficient
forced air furnace is the Maine
Energy System Auto Pellet Air.
It delivers 89% efficiency.
One of the big loopholes in the new EPA wood and pellet heater regulations is closing this month.  Small forced air furnaces were required to meet new emission regulations in May 2016, but many very small furnaces declared themselves to be large furnaces, giving them until May 2017 to meet the new standards.  As of May 16, 2016, all forced air furnaces, large and small, must emit no more than 0.93 lbs per mmBTU of heat output regardless of whether they are wood or pellet units.
Currently, there are six forced air furnaces that are certified, four of which use wood and two of which use pellets.  The average emissions rate ranges between 0.06 to 0.84 lbs, with the average at 0.411 lbs, less than half the current standard.  However, as of 2020, this class of heaters must meet a far stricter standard of 0.15 lbs/mmBTU.  (This is the subject of litigation by the HPBA.)  Only one of the current six models, the Maine Energy System Auto Pellet Air,  emits less than 0.15 lbs, but it has to be retested using a different test method to comply with the 2020 standards.
Of the six currently on the market, there is a huge efficiency range, from 48% to 89%.  Both ends of the spectrum are listed as pellet heaters.  At the top end is the Maine Energy System’s Auto Pellet Air, which was developed by OkoFEN, a leading pellet boiler company in Austria.  At the bottom end is US Stove’s 8500 multi-fuel furnace.  (US Stove also has a certified cordwood furnace that has lower emissions and higher efficiency than this pellet model.)  The average efficiency of the six
The US Stove 8500 pellet
furnace is the least efficient
certified furnace at 48%, but sells
for less then $ 3,000.

furnaces is 66%.

At the end of May 2017, it will be clear how which forced air furnaces did not get certified.  There are many more coal furnaces on the market today, compared with 3 or 4 years ago, as some companies have added grates and other slight modifications to outdoor wood boilers and furnaces in order to keep them on the market as coal units.  Coal heaters are still not covered by EPA emission regulations, so renaming a wood boiler or furnace a coal boiler or furnace is still a loophole used by some companies.

Heated Up!

Flurry of Lobbying on Furnaces and Test Methods on Eve of New Stove Rules

Posted by Earth Stove on July 7, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,
The Office of Management and Budget
is in the Old Executive Office Building
next the White House.

Sources confirmed that the EPA is set to announce the new wood heater rules on Tuesday, February 3rd, the court ordered date.  After years of debate and anticipation about cost impacts and emission standards for stoves and outdoor boilers, the issue that has become the most contested on the eve of the announcement is warm air furnaces.

The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) cleared the rule on Feb. 1 “with changes” setting the stage for it to be signed by Administrator McCarthy and publicly released.  (Rules often take 2 – 4 weeks to appear in the Federal Register after they are publicly released by an agency.)

Even though the big decisions were all supposed to be made last fall, there has been intensive lobbying by stakeholders right up until Friday afternoon, January 30th – one business day ahead of the expected announcement. At least 2 groups met with the Obama Administration through the Office of Management & Budget on Friday, January 30th. During January, interest groups had at least six other meetings with OMB, lobbying for last minute changes to the proposed rule.

The patterns, attendees and paperwork left behind at OMB meetings this month offer a unique glimpse into some of the most contested areas of the rule. Thanks to sunshine laws that make records of meetings with government agencies public, the public can see a list of who met with the OMB in the weeks leading up to the announcement of the rule.

The short term fate of warm air furnaces (WAF) appears to be the top priority of the hearth industry because they represent the only product category where most existing models cannot be made or sold for a period of time after the rule becomes law and before they become certified. HPBA participated in two meetings in January along with their legal counsel and consultant, Jack Ferguson, and various of their member companies, including US Stove, Central Boiler, Hardy, Heatmor and Hawken Energy.

Jack Goldman, CEO of the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association, said in a letter to EPA that this is “clearly a death sentence” to most of the companies making warm air furnaces. The EPA says that they do not have the legal authority under the Clean Air Act to delay implementation of emissions standards. Warm air furnaces are the only class of wood heaters that will be required to meet emission standards, but are still unregulated and have little ability to be tested and certified until the rule is announced.  US Stove Co may be the leading manufacturer of warm air furnaces in the U.S. and they often sell for less than $ 2,000 – less than most wood stoves.

Another hot topic that emerged in recent months is a dispute over the opposite end of the spectrum from unregulated hot air furnaces – high performance indoor boilers, often made in Europe, but now being made in the US. The EPA certified test labs refuse to use a test method for these appliances developed by DOE’s Brookhaven National Lab and funded by NYSERDA, which captures some start-up emissions and uses cord wood instead of cribs. This is emblematic of a long simmering rift between test methods for outdoor wood boilers and European style indoor boilers with thermal storage, which offer the potential for cleaner combustion. NYSERDA and Econoburn, a NY manufacturer who makes these furnaces ask, “Who should really benefit? Those who innovate or those who refuse to?”

Other meetings in January with OMB and key stakeholders include one with about a dozen air quality agencies and states; with representatives of the Pellet Fuels Institute and a pellet testing facility; and with Intertek Test labs. Attendees in meeting between OMB and indoor and outdoor boilers and furnace manufacturers, and with NYSERDA and New York manufacturers are also in the public record.

If participants of the meetings provided OMB with documents, those documents are also public. Three key documents were provided this month, two from HPBA on a their legal argument (PDF) to delay compliance for hot air furnaces and a survey (PDF) commissioned by HPBA of HPBA member retailers on sell through trends. Four of the groups that met with OMB did not leave materials and there is as of now no record of the topics raised at those meeting. The only other document from the final month of intensive lobbying was from NYSERDA, NESCAUM and New York based companies (powerpoint).


Heated Up!

Flurry of Lobbying on Furnaces and Test Strategies on Eve of New Stove Policies

Posted by Earth Stove on February 1, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,

The Office of Management and Budgetis in the Old Executive Office Buildingnext the White House. Sources confirmed that the EPA is set to announce the new wood heater rules on Tuesday, February 3rd, the court ordered date.  After years of debate and anticipation about cost impacts and emission standards for stoves and outdoor boilers, the […]

Buyer Reviews on Trustworthiness of Gas Furnaces & Pellet Stoves

Posted by Earth Stove on March 8, 2013 with No Commentsas , , , , ,

Alliance for Green Warmth, December 1, 2012 – Wooden and pellet stoves are a secondary gasoline of selection for several of us who mainly warmth with oil, propane or electric power. But when it comes to expense savings, fuel furnaces give the cheapest kind of fossil gasoline heat. Deciding on a reputable brand name of […]

IRS withdraws proper of Shaver Furnaces to assert tax credit score

Posted by Earth Stove on February 5, 2012 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,

In Could 2010 the Alliance for Eco-friendly Heat wrote to the IRS, urging them to appear into the subject of unqualified outdoor wooden boilers claiming to be 75% successful. The Alliance had discovered a single producer, Shaver Furnaces, who had accredited their unqualified boilers as seventy five% efficient decrease heating benefit (LHV) making it possible […]