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Heating & Air Conditioning
Wood Heaters Might Emit More Pollutants than Oil or Gas
Many people seek to avoid high heating costs by turning to wood as a cost-saving, renewable source of energy.
New England Wood Burning Options
As cooler temperatures return in the northeast and many people seek to avoid high heating costs, more and more New Englanders are turning to wood as a cost-saving, renewable source of energy.
Map of Real-Time Particles and Air Quality Forecasts
To help inform residents about particle-pollution levels, EPA provides maps at www.epa.gov/ne/aqi/index.html showing real-time particle levels and air-quality forecasts throughout New England. You can also sign up at this web address for EnviroFlash, a free service provided by EPA and the New England states, to receive air-quality alerts for your area via email or cell phone.
EPA-certified wood stoves
All wood stoves manufactured since 1988 must be EPA-certified. These certified wood stoves have better insulation and air flow so that more of the toxic gases and particles are burned inside the stove, producing less smoke. As a result, they use one-third less wood than older stoves for the same amount of heat and also emit 50 to 60 percent less air pollution. EPA-certified stoves are easy to identify because they carry a special label and white hang tag. You can also check EPA’s list of certified wood stoves on EPA’s “Burn Wise” website.
Cleaner Hydronic Heaters
Some New Englanders may also choose to heat their homes or businesses with outdoor hydronic heaters (also called outdoor wood heaters or outdoor wood boilers).
Hydronic heaters are usually located in outdoor sheds. Typically, they burn wood to heat liquid (water or water-antifreeze) that is piped to nearby buildings to provide heat, hot water or both. Hydronic heaters may also be located indoors and may use biomass fuel other than cordwood, such as corn or wood pellets. Although the concept may be appealing, hydronic heaters commonly produce excessive amounts of smoke and can negatively impact nearby residences.
EPA has a successful voluntary program that encourages manufacturers to produce cleaner hydronic heaters. The program is now in Phase 2 and offers heaters that are about 90% cleaner than older, unqualified models.
Like EPA-certified wood stoves, EPA-qualified hydronic heaters (Phase 2) have a white hang tag and are listed on EPA’s “Burn Wise” website.
Tips for Wood Heating
Regardless of the type of wood-burning appliance used, everyone can take measures to save money and protect their health and the health of their neighbors. Here are a few tips to follow: