Hearth Industry Trade Association Urges People to Utilize New Wood Burning Technology and Clean Burning Habits to Help Protect Air Quality from Excessive Wood Smoke

Due to the strong demand for wood heat across North America, the hearth products industry is urging people to follow responsible wood burning techniques when they stoke up a cozy fire. The concern is over the need to protect air quality from excessive wood smoke.

According to the Arlington, Virginia based Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, responsible wood burning entails utilizing new wood burning technology and clean burning habits to reduce wood smoke.

"Wood burning is a great choice if people do it right and act responsibly," says Jack Goldman, president and CEO of HPBA. "Heating a home with wood has many benefits including energy independence. Wood heat helps people control high home heating bills, keeps a house warm when the power goes out and helps reduce global warming."

New wood burning technology includes EPA-certified, clean burning woodstoves and fireplace inserts. It also includes low emission fireplaces and masonry heaters. Clean burning habits encompass burning dry, seasoned wood; starting a fire with a fire starter; building short, hot fires with small pieces of wood; and using manufactured firelogs.

Goldman points out that responsible wood burning can help reduce wood smoke substantially. For example, EPA certified appliances produce almost no smoke. And, using an EPA certified appliance instead of an old wood stove can help cut wood smoke pollution by up to 85 percent.

EPA certified stoves and fireplace inserts are those manufactured on or after July 1, 1990 -- or sold on or after July 1, 1992.

"People that are using old wood stoves or are burning firewood in a traditional fireplace are producing unnecessary amounts of wood smoke," adds Goldman. "They can make a difference by changing out to new wood burning technology. Fireplace users can also significantly reduce wood smoke by using a manufactured firelog instead of firewood."

Old wood stoves, fireplace inserts and traditional fireplaces belch out large quantities of wood smoke because they fail to burn the wood completely. New wood burning technology stoves, fireplace inserts and fireplaces are manufactured with state-of-the art technology that helps burn the wood smoke almost to a point where there's nothing left to burn.

HPBA's concern is based on a strong commitment to clean air and a more than ten-year effort by the hearth industry and its member stove manufacturers to develop wood burning hearth products and fuels that are environmentally responsible. This interest is also a result of the hearth industry's experience after the oil crisis in the 1970s when the increased production and use of wood burning stoves resulted in regulations by the EPA due to excessive wood smoke.

"Our member manufacturers have invested tens of millions of dollars in product research and development to make sure that their products meet the EPA's requirements," adds Goldman. "And that effort is paying off for the environment."

Additional tips on responsible wood burning are available by visiting a hearth specialty retailer or through HPBA's website at A search engine to locate a hearth specialty retailer is also available on the site.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is the North American trade association for manufacturers, distributors, and hearth specialty retailers of all types of hearth appliances, fuels and accessories, including stoves, fireplace inserts, fireplaces and masonry heaters. Formed in 1980, the organization serves over 2,300 members in the U.S. and Canada.

Responsible Wood Burning Tips

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association offers the following tips on responsible wood burning and encourages people to utilize new wood burning technology and make changes in burning habits to reduce excessive wood smoke in an effort to help protect air quality:

Use EPA-Certified Wood Stoves and Fireplace Inserts: People with older wood stoves and fireplace inserts should consider changing out to EPA certified wood burning appliances. Wood stoves and fireplace inserts manufactured on or after July 1, 1990 -- or sold on or after July 1, 1992 -- are certified by the EPA to meet stringent emission standards. Replacing an older appliance with EPA certified wood burning technology can cut wood smoke emissions by up to 85 percent.

Upgrade Existing Traditional Fireplaces with EPA-Certified Fireplace Inserts: People with traditional fireplaces can reduce their emissions significantly by adding an EPA certified wood burning fireplace insert.

Add a Low Emission Fireplace or Masonry Heater: There are wood burning fireplaces sold today that are as clean burning as EPA certified appliances. A masonry heater is another wood burning appliances that produces minimal smoke and helps protect winter air quality.

Use Seasoned Firewood: Choosing the right firewood is critical whether or not a person uses new wood burning technology. Well seasoned firewood can make a big difference in the amount of smoke a fire produces.

Start a Fire with Fire Starter: Independent research indicates that using a fire starter to start a fire in a wood stove can cut particulate emissions by more than 69 percent.

Build Small, Hot Fires: Using small pieces of wood can help produce fires that burn hotter which results in less smoke.

Use Manufactured Firelogs: Made from wax and sawdust or just sawdust, manufactured firelogs produce significantly less emissions than firewood. Wax and sawdust firelogs are for use in fireplaces only, while sawdust only firelogs can be burned in a fireplace, stove or fireplace insert.

Schedule Regular Maintenance By Your Chimney Sweep: Keep your wood burning heating system in good working order with regular maintenance by a qualified professional chimney sweep. Regularly maintained EPA-certified wood stoves, which had heated homes for nearly ten years, performed like new in a recent study. Many chimney sweeps will be happy to schedule your future appointments a year or two in advance.

If you don't already have a good chimney sweep, ask around in your community for a company with a good reputation. Sweeps also demonstrate their competency through certification programs offered by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the Wood Education Technology Transfer (WETT) program in Canada, and some state chimney sweep organizations. A list of CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps® is available online at

More information about responsible wood burning is available from your chimney sweep or hearth specialty retailer and at A search engine to find a hearth specialty retailer is available on the website.

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