Wood Burning Stove not EPA certified?

momof2_2006October 3, 2008

I'm hoping someone can help me. Someone is giving us a wood burning stove for free. With the oil prices, this has been a lifesaver for us. After doing some reading I found out it may not be EPA certified. It is from a very good company and it does look like the newer models. What exactly does this mean for me? I have 2 kids in the house and I dont want them breathing in anything dangerous and I'm also all for cleaner air. This stove is call a Vermont Casting Vigilant. Its a top loader. It is a wood stove that comes with a coal insert which we will not be using. Should I pass on this or is it possible even though it's older that it would pass the EPA certification?

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Before I would do anything I would be doing some major research about wood heating before you go this route. Do you have your annual requirement of seasoned firewood procured? If not EPA standards won't matter because you will likely be performing a polluting burn with underseasoned purchased wood anyway and the model of the stove won't matter at all.

Wood heating should be planned a year in advance IMO and it is not a seat of the pants decision as described.

Now to your question:

I believe if the stove was made in 1991 or later it would be certified-that information should be with the serial number. But I don't think outdoor smoke emissions is your primary problem if you describe your financial condition as in lifesaving mode.

First of all I would find out if the stove is large enough to meet the heating needs of your living space and then is it in a safe usable condition irregardless of being EPA certified or not because the repair parts are likely going to be hard to find and if you are able to locate one will be prohibitively expensive given VC's financial problems.

If the stove is large enough my suggestion is to take detailed pictures of the stove and pose your question of its condition on Hearth.com.

If the results of the posed question has determined the stove needs repairs I would likely move on and purchase a new Englander stove either a model NC13 or NC30 depending upon your space heating requirements. They are the lowest cost EPA models on the market with a good reputation.

EPA stoves BTW also should save 25-30% on wood consumption.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 9:14AM
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"EPA stoves BTW also should save 25-30% on wood consumption."

True, and they also create less creosote. OTOH, even with the 25-30% savings on wood consumption, it could take a new stove 10-15 years to pay for itself vs a free one...depending on how much wood you burn. Wood heat isn't for everybody, and IF the Vigilant is in safe operating condition, it could be a good way of testing the water without a large investment.

Lakelifer is correct: it's late in the season to be getting into this unless you have a source of dry wood. Seasoned wood will cost more, but probably still be cheaper than oil. I raised a couple of healthy kids while using our 25 yr old VT Castings Defiant. To me, the biggest concern with the older models is creosote formation....especially if you use green wood. Keep the chimney and stove pipes clean and you'll be fine.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 9:37PM
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Those older VC stoves were the "standard of the industry". They were GREAT stoves. Many of my neighbors still use them. Sure, they're "dirtier" than an EPA stove. but they are great stoves!

My only suggestion would be to have a professional install the stove and inspect it thoroughly before starting anything. But once it's installed, it'll give years of faithful service.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 7:11AM
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