The Alliance for Green Heat pursues retailers advertising uncertified wood furnaces

Six of the nine retailers AGH contacted stopped advertising uncertified furnaces within two weeks

Indoor furnaces are usually in the
basement, but can be in a garage.  Either
option often leads to better fuel storage
practices than outdoor boilers and
greatly reduces jacket losses.

On May 15, 2017, EPA regulations took effect that required all wood furnaces to include smoke the law changed on May 15.
reduction technologies and be certified by third party test labs. Some furnace manufacturers started educating their retailers early and stopped shipping uncertified furnaces during the winter. Others continued to ship units, and many retailers continued to advertise and sell uncertified furnaces after

Indoor wood and coal furnaces—also called warm, hot air, or forced air furnaces—were very popular in the US through the early to mid-1900s, then gradually their lost market share as fossil liquid fuel furnaces gained traction in the late 1900s. Then, outdoor wood boilers gained favor, becoming a far worse threat to local air quality than indoor furnaces and boilers had been for decades.

The Alliance began contacting retailers advertising uncertified furnaces to find out whether they knew about the change in regulations and how responsive they would be to information about the change. “We believe that all manufacturers and retailers should play by the same rules, so that the ones who do follow the rules don’t get undercut by ones who do not,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “And, we found that many if not most retailers will stop advertising products that are not legal to sell if they are politely and professionally approached by an organization that is knowledgeable about the rules,” Ackerly said.

AGH Project Manager Melissa Bollman contacted nine retailers advertising uncertified furnaces. Of those, six stopped advertising those boilers within 2 weeks. Some of the furnaces were removed from the website entirely or are listed as unavailable, while other models that were previously advertised as capable of burning wood or coal have been rebranded as “coal only” to comply with EPA regulations.  Currently, if a stove or boiler is advertised as being able to burn wood, it must be tested and certified to burn wood.  (The EPA does not regulate coal heaters and some manufacturers have just added a grate and continue to sell the same unit as “coal only”.)

AGH efforts were not always effective, and a few retailers still appear to be advertising uncertified wood furnaces (see screenshots below). These include Sears’ online marketplace (orders fulfilled by the third party 123Stoves, Inc.), Homeclick, and HVAC direct. All screenshots were taken on June 22, 2017.

Houzz.com, Wayfair, and HVAC direct continue to sell uncertified wood furnaces or ones that are labeled wood/coal. The units they are selling are all made by US Stove Company, whose business model leaves it vulnerable to illegal sales of its units by multiple retailers.

AGH regularly monitors advertising by manufacturers and retailers in order to better educate consumers about misleading claims. We also publicize the names of manufacturers who provide better information and do not mislead consumers.

This continued advertising and sale of products that are no longer compliant highlights the danger that stranded inventory can pose for retailers when deadlines pass. If the 2020 emission rules are not delayed or changed, some wood stove retailers may get stuck with inventory that they are no longer allowed to sell, but are under pressure to unload to recoup their investment.

Without regulation, wood furnaces often sold for $ 1,000 – $ 2,000, less than many certified wood stoves. Even after the 2017 rules took effect, certified wood furnaces remain affordable with most selling for $ 2,100 to $ 3,200. Ten models are now certified, ranging from a more expensive European-designed pellet furnace at 89% efficiency to a very basic US Stove model 1330E that is 33% efficient.

However, the future of this class of wood heaters is far from secure, as EPA rules require wood furnaces to emit no more than 0.15 lbs/mmBtu as of 2020. Other than the European-designed pellet furnace, the other certified furnaces are not at all close to meeting that standard. Wood furnaces saw extremely little technological development until they were required to be certified between 2005 and 2017, and the sector is far behind the levels of controls that have been built into stoves and boilers.

Screenshots:


 https://hvacdirect.com/us-stove-1500-wood-coal-furnace.html 
 http://www.homeclick.com/vogelzang-vg1500-norseman-1500-sq-ft-wood-burning-add-on-furnace/p-878127.aspx

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

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.

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

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

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.

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 announcement. At least 2 groups met with the Obama Administration through the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) 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 no ability to be tested and certified until the rule is announced.

Another hot topic that emerged in recent months is a dispute over the opposite end of the spectrum, 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.


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Buyer Reviews on Trustworthiness of Gas Furnaces & Pellet Stoves

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 furnace is still critical, and the December 2012 concern of Client Studies advised customers to think 2 times about York furnaces which broke down about two times as typically as other brand names.

Bryant, Trane and American Standard furnaces needed repairs the minimum usually, according to the Consumer Report survey of 32,251 appliances purchased by subscribers of the journal. Numerous other makes, which includes Provider, Rheen, Ruud and Lennox, held up virtually as well. Consumer Studies also has exceptional common guidance about buying a fuel furnace.

Client Studies has in no way carried out a big study of wooden or pellet stove trustworthiness, though they did take a look at and assessment six pellet stoves in February 2011. The magazine gave optimum rating to the Harman P68, which, at $ three,900, was also the most high-priced of all the pellet stoves they reviewed. A close next to the Harman was the Napoleon NPS40 which value only $ 2,350, and rated larger than 3 other much more expensive models from Lopi, Enviro and Quadrafire. At the bottom of the list was Summers Heat 55-SHP10L, made by Englander, but that model only cost $ one,300 and is typically considered a excellent price.

Shoppers Stories has never examined wooden stoves, so never subscribe pondering you will find any scores or tips. Each wooden and pellet stoves are worthy of significantly far more consideration from customer businesses as there is tiny dependable 3rd social gathering testing and dependability surveys. The screening that Consumer Reviews did of pellet stoves in 2010 did not incorporate reliability, noise levels for pellet stoves or how a lot electricity the stove drew.

Wooden stoves are inherently a lot more reputable and frequently require small repair, other than cleaning the chimney yearly and changing the gaskets every couple of many years. Even so, the sturdiness of many wood stoves, even though a offering point, can also be a drawback because numerous folks maintain their old, inefficient and polluting stoves for too lengthy, not recognizing that more recent ones can save them up to fifty% on fuel price and be considerably far better for their overall health.
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IRS withdraws proper of Shaver Furnaces to assert tax credit score


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 for consumers to declare what was then a $ one,five hundred tax credit rating.

In excess of a calendar year afterwards, the IRS issued a ruling, locating that Shaver Furnace “failed to meet up with the effectiveness ranking of at least seventy five% as calculated using a lower heating price.” The IRS revoked the businesses appropriate to offer a certification on which future purchasers of the furnace can count. The ruling did not influence the capability of Shaver consumers to consider the tax credit score prior to the day of the ruling, Nov. 28, 2011. It does not seem that the IRS imposed any wonderful on Shaver.

The Alliance for Eco-friendly Warmth is not aware of any other producer who has been denied the appropriate to declare 75% effectiveness, but has been quite crucial of the market follow that enables almost every wooden and pellet stove to declare 75% performance. In actuality, wood stoves that claim seventy five% effectiveness may possibly be under 65% productive LHV and some pellet stoves are below sixty% LHV, with some even beneath fifty%.

In February 2011, eight months prior to the IRS ruling, Barrett Enterprises urged shoppers to purchase the clear burning standard Shaver Furnace “before rates improve.”

Four days ahead of the IRS ruling, Shaver Furnace place out a recognize on its Facebook web page expressing “Shaver Furnace is very pleased to announce that the Shaver Professional Sequence one hundred sixty five, 250, 290 and 340 designs have all been tested and qualified to be 75% effective or far better and this allowed us to supply you a certification to get the $ 300 Federal Tax Credit rating for 2011. Being eligible for the tax rebate implies that your Shaver Furnace will burn up much less wooden than with other manufacturers who don’t qualify for the rebate and therefore you will use much more wooden with the other – becoming considerably less than 75% effective. That is evidence, not just rhetoric.”

A chart of outdoor wooden boilers, presumably manufactured by Shaver Furnaces, listing which organizations qualify for the IRS tax credit gave a inexperienced “yes” only to Shaver Furnaces. Other producers, such as Central Boiler, Heatmor and many other individuals ended up all detailed with a crimson “no.” The site stated a pink “no” designates “WORST or undesirable.”

Shaver Out of doors Furnace still claim to use “up to twenty five to fifty% less wood in contrast to other heating techniques.” Their internet site states:

“Considering that the Shaver can melt away larger parts of wooden it will dramatically reduce the time loading the furnace and the time spent reducing the wooden – and there is no splitting. Furthermore the wooden burns much better and a lot more totally. Costs for huge spherical items are also drastically significantly less than for shorter parts of break up wood….. As soon as the drinking water heats up to the temperature you established it at, the supporter goes off, enabling the fireplace to just smolder.”


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