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Buy the Right Wood Stove - Video Vignette

If you're thinking about buying a wood stove-how do you find the right one? The best way to find the right size and model is by talking to a professional woodstove dealer or heating contractor.

Before you start shopping, determine the square footage of the area you want the stove to heat. Wood stoves come in different sizes and can be sized to heat a single room or an entire home. Consider the room the stove will be located in, as well as the adjacent rooms. Include only a portion of your house in your calculations, unless you have a small house or have a way to distribute the heat to remote rooms. And remember to also consider how weatherized your home is. Is it a newer home with high ceilings, double paned windows and modern installation guidelines? Or is it older and drafty?

When shopping for a new stove, take along a floor plan of your home. A stove that is too large or small for the space to be heated will be inefficient, create more pollution and will leave the temperature uncomfortable. Dealers can make recommendations on the right one for you.

Always look for the EPA white label on the back of the stove—a sign that it is cleaner and more efficient. The design of stoves has changed significantly since epa enacted stricter emission limits in 1988. Today, the limit for wood stoves is 7.5 grams of smoke per hour for non-catalytic stoves, and 4.1 grams per hour for catalytic stoves.

The most common type of stove for meeting epa smoke emission limits is the non-catalytic style, which has three internal characteristics that create a good environment for complete combustion - firebox insulation, a large baffle to produce a longer, hotter gas flow path, and pre-heated combustion air introduced through small holes above the wood in the firebox.

Catalytic is the other type of stove and is less popular because it is slightly more complicated to operate and requires more maintenance for operating at peak performance. With this type of combustion, the smoky exhaust is passed through a honeycomb containing a catalyst inside the stove where the smoke gases and particles ignite and burn.

Three things make a stove clean burning: how it is designed, how it is installed, and how you operate and maintain it. EPA laws ensure that stoves burn cleanly in the test lab, but it is up to you to install and operate your new stove so that it burns cleanly and efficiently. Follow your owners manual when installing it and consult an expert if you're not sure. And keep in mind that insurance approval is more likley if your stove was installed by a qualified technician.

Burn wise and breathe easy by burning the right wood, the right way, in the right stove. For more tips on burning wisely visit Burn Wise Alaska.