woodburner

Exchange the woodstove or Not

Many folks just don’t know if they should exchange their unit for a better EPA rated wood burning appliance. It’s not straight forward. Your situation is unique and having a stove rated today’s EPA standard doesn’t mean there isn’t a better option for your home and needs.

I recently met with a lady in Smithers who is questioning her stove. Here’s my take. Start with 3 simple considerations:

  1. how dirty is the smoke out your chimney?
  2. how’s your health and that of your neighbours?
  3. how does your stove perform?

Teresa has a Granby wood stove in her place.

The house was bought about 11 years ago, it’s on one level, probably around 1200 sq. feet. She lives in a cul de sac next to much larger 2 story homes and she backs onto parkland. It’s a Cdn made stove, Model XT0, serial 3283 and was certified to the 1990 EPA standard of 4.5 g/hr. It takes a smaller log -16inches. Initially it was WETT installed and it has it’s own air intake hose that is plumbed thru the wall. Needless to say she loves it!

I looked outside and the chimney is burning clean – not a speck of smoke. She only uses her stove in the morning to warm the house and uses electric baseboards thru the cold nights. Teresa also has a unique arrangement with her neighbour. There is a child in a second storey room nearby the chimney so Teresa has agreed not to burn the stove past 9pm. What a good neighbour!

I suggested Teresa try to measure her indoor and outdoor particulate emissions and if the neighbour is concerned they could all borrow and share the purple air monitor that is available at the library. Once they know emission levels it might help them consider other ‘smoke management’ options. The agreement they have is admirable but maybe the neighbours need an indoor air filter for example. Teresa buys and has dry wood. She manages 3 different piles, taking from the seasoned and letting the newly inbound get nice and dry before burnt. She has a small electric splitter that creates kindling and she lights up with small wood and a hot fire, ensuring good draught and little smoldering.

I wouldn’t recommend she upgrade her stove unless she is planning to sell. A Smithers bylaw requires her to upgrade to a better EPA rated wood burning appliance and a new home owner may as well get used to a new and better rated wood stove. Plus she could cash in on the rebate savings before selling. Otherwise she knows how to operate her stove, she applies the best practices and she’s real accomodating to her neighbours. She will try the monitor and see what is reveals but otherwise she’s sticking with her stove!

Great meeting you Teresa and thanks for sharing!

P.S. I plan to go back and check out her little splitter. I noticed Cdn Tire had them on sale ranging from $300 – $600 but I’m sure there’s all sorts of makes and models. Here’s a link to a brief video on the operation of a random splitter I found on the net. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y78IBn-Jq8A I personally would like one that is gas or battery powered, I don’t want one plugged into the mains. Anyone got any tips?

Teresa says you can jimmy a sewing machine pedal to some splitters so you have foot control. Also – she could use a screen since the wood splits and flies pretty quick.

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