Is the Wood Burning Appliance Energy Efficient?

wood burning appliance

Before 1990, the wood burning appliances’ manufacturers used to produce less efficient heaters that pollute the outdoor air, waste a lot of fuel and generate dust. Nowadays, many energy saving options are EPA certified that is responsible for saving fuel and money and protecting family health. The higher efficiency depends on the lower emissions. Hence, people are replacing the old wood heaters with the modern energy efficient appliances.

The benefits of the new wood-burning appliances

  • They can save up to 50% more energy than before.
  • 1/3 of the less wood can be used for generating the same amount of heat.
  • Money, time and resources are saved.
  • The modern wood burning fireplaces lower the creosote build-up.
  • The risk of chimney fires is reduced.
  • The wood smoke pollution is lowered (both inside and outside).
  • The amount of carbon dioxide is decreased.
  • The amount of methane and black carbon are also decreased.

It is reported that wood-burning appliances save billions in the matter of health benefits every year that is attached to asthma, cancer, respiratory and skin disorders, etc.

The advantages of the EPA – certified wood heaters

Non-EPA wood heaters are considered to be an inefficient manner to heat the entire home. The fireplace drafts may pull the warm air up to the chimney resulting in cooling down the room. Again, if one makes use of the central heat during burning in a fireplace, the heater has to work harder for maintaining the constant temperatures all over the house. The fireplaces that are not certified by EPA don’t burn clean as compared to the certified ones. Moreover, they produce approximately 20 times more air pollution.

If you want more efficient heating with less amount of useless smoke, you have to ask the local retailer about gas, EPA- certified wood fireplace inserts and pellet. If you want more professional output, you can add gas log lighter kits to the existing fireplace. It will help you in easy lighting a wood fire and also renders more coherent start-up. EPA is currently working with the manufacturers for bringing cleaner-burning fireplaces to the contemporary market via the voluntary fireplace program.

Trees with most energy per cord ( the top ones have the highest and the bottoms have the lowest):

Long burning hardest wood

  • Ironwood, Hickory, Oak, Rock Elm,
  • Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, Beech
  • Ash, Red Maple, Red Elm,
  • Douglas Fir, Tamarack, White Birch
  • Red Alder, Manitoba Maple, Hemlock
  • Pine, Poplar, Spruce, Basswood, Balsam

The right wood helps in burning efficiently. A new rightly installed wood burning heater can produce hotter fire with less fuel. It releases less smoke.

Be sure that the firewood is seasoned or dry as wet wood is the culprit behind the excessive smoke. If you use a moisture meter, you can test the moisture level in the firewood. You will get the meter in the hardware shops or you can find it on the internet. The wood that is properly dried must have a reading of 20% and less. The hardwood usually has the most energy per cord.

You can make your wood ready to burn efficiently:

  • First, split wood into pieces ( 6 inches in diameter ) for rapid drying.
  • Next, stack off the ground.
  • Thirdly, split the wood side down.
  • Fourthly, cover the pile for protecting from snow and rain.
  • Now, store the wood for 6 months at the minimum. For softwood 6 months are okay, but for hardwood, you need to store for at least 12 months.


If you smell smoke in your home and can see smoke emitting from the chimney, you have to understand that you are burning wet wood, or, there is a problem in your fireplace or stove. Call an expert to find the actual fault and fix it. The wood pellets must be certified and the pellet heater should be well maintained and clean.

It is very important

If there are cracks and crevices in the home, seal and insulate them to reduce the overall needs of heating and of course heating bills.

Always start a fire with clean newspaper. You can use dry kindling. Stay away from plastic materials, garbage, treated and colored wood, scented stuff, etc. as they can produce harmful chemicals when coming in contact with fire.

Call a certified technician for inspection and servicing the wood burning appliance annually.

You must make sure to clean your chimney by a certified chimney sweep. Get rid of creosote build-up. An accurately installed and looked after wood burning appliance burns more efficiently without any doubt.

If you smell smoke in the house, shut down the appliance immediately and call a certified chimney sweep to check.

If you want to know how to identify an EPA-certified appliance, have a look at the back of the unit for a metal tag. You can refer to the owner’s manual. Remember, heaters having solid doors are usually older and need to be replaced. Dispose of the old heater carefully to avoid misuse.

Check the local air quality forecast before start burning.

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