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Wood Burning Stoves - Video Vignette

Choosing the right wood stove, alternatives & funding sources

Your old wood stove may have a dirty little secret. Do you smell smoke in the house, or notice smoke coming from the chimney? Is there more dust around the house when you use the wood stove? Do you get watery eyes and a stuffy nose when you're using the wood stove? Do you have to constantly feed the stove with wood? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you need to consider replacing your old wood stove.

Better burning practices start with better equipment. Today's wood stoves produce almost no smoke, minimal ash, and require 30-percent less firewood than older models to produce the same heat. Upgrading to an efficient EPA-approved wood-burning appliance is the first step toward making your home safer and healthier because it reduces dust and dangerous airborne particles inside your home and helps decrease outdoor air pollution - by up to 70 percent.

The right stove reduces the risk of a home fire by decreasing creosote build-up in your chimney. And new stoves save you money because they can be 50 percent more efficient than older models and can use one-third less wood to produce the same amount of heat.

An EPA-certified stove dealer can teach you how to get the most heat out of your stove, safely and will give you a list of certified wood heaters that includes the manufacturer and model name, and its emission rate, heat output, and efficiency. Look for the EPA certification label on the back of the stove, showing that it passes federal standards for new residential wood heaters under the clean air act and meets mandated emission limits.

Professional installation also matters. Improperly installed stoves can spill smoke back into your home or cause a house fire. A hearth specialty retailer can arrange to have a trained, certified technician install it and annually service your appliance so that it continues to perform as it is intended to.

If your wood stove has a solid metal door, it probably dates from before 1990 and it's time for an upgrade, or to consider replacing it with cleaner burning options, ranging from natural gas to high-tech wood stoves.

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.