Woodstoves and Air Quality
For hundreds of years, home wood heating technology changed very little. Then in the 1980s, severe air pollution problems across the country were linked to smoke from woodstoves. Soon, woodstove manufacturers were required to design cleaner stoves.
New woodstove designs focus on achieving higher-efficiency combustion, more complete burning of combustion waste gases, and better heating efficiency. Two different designs—catalytic and noncatalytic stoves—meet woodstove pollution standards.
- Catalytic stoves use a catalyst inside the firebox to assist with the burning of waste gases (smoke).
- Noncatalytic stoves use a combination of sophisticated baffles and air supply designs to burn the gases.
A third option is called a hybrid stove. These combine the best attributes of both the noncatalytic stove’s air induction systems as well as a catalytic combustor. Hybrid stoves are the most efficient stoves on the market and because of this efficiency are the cleanest burning. Catalytic combustors have come a long way from the initial designs. Today’s catalysts last up to 10 years. Proper cleaning and care can extend them significantly. Regardless of the technology, knowing how to correctly operate the new stove is key to getting the most heat out of your new wood stove. Read the manual, use dry, seasoned wood and you will have years of great heat.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires manufacturers of woodstoves to produce clean-burning woodstoves. New standards have been enacted in 2015 (which will tighten in 2020) that reduce wood smoke significantly. Learn more.
Woodstove Replacements and Tax Deductions
Idaho offers taxpayers who buy new woodstoves, pellet stoves, or natural gas or propane heating units for their residences a tax deduction to replace old, uncertified woodstoves. Learn more.
Woodstove operators can dramatically improve a stove's performance by learning to use the stove properly and burning correct fuels. Learn more.