EPA STANDARD: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
What is the EPA standard?
EPA is the US agency that is responsible for setting environmental standards for the United States. You may have heard of the EPA 2020 standard for wood and pellet burning appliances. Since May 2015, all manufactured appliances must emit 4.5 g/h or less of fine particles into the air. The US agency has reviewed the existing standard and revised it downward. It stipulates that from May 2020, wood-burning appliances must have an emission rate of 2.5 g/h or less to be sold in the United States. This rate is set at 2.0 g/h for pellet appliances. It is therefore to this new regulation that the EPA 2020 appellation refers. It is important to mention that EPA certified appliances emit up to 90% less particulate matter in the atmosphere than conventional stoves. Thus, from an environmental point of view, certified appliances are highly recommended. In addition to reducing the impact of emissions on the environment, you will make substantial fuel savings.
What is the canadian emissions standard?
The CSA B415.1-10 standard is the emissions test protocol for Canada. Every Canadian province that regulates emissions of wood appliances accepts the CSA B415.1-10 standard, as well as the EPA standard. Under CSA B415.1-10, appliances must have emissions below 4.5 g/h. Exceptions may apply, such as the city of Montreal, where emissions (under EPA or CSA B415.1-10) must be under 2.5 g/h.
Do I have to change my appliance?
Everywhere in the United States and Canada, with the exception of New-Brunswick, Prince-Edward Island and the Northwest Territories, EPA certified appliances (or CSA B415.1-10, the Canadian standard) are mandatory. Exceptions exist, especially for decorative wood fireplaces (consult the section below), mass fireplaces, wood cook stoves or camp stoves. Each municipality may require that the devices installed on its territory comply with the EPA standard or meets more stringent standards as is the case for the city of Montreal, even if the province does not require it. It is therefore important to refer to your municipality for the current regulation, as well as to check whether a subsidy program for the replacement of old appliances is available to citizens.
In almost 100% of cases, municipalities do not require the replacement of existing appliances, but require that all new installations comply with the new regulations. There are exceptions, however, including the city of Montreal, where this acquired right is not applicable. After first announcing a complete ban on wood burning appliances, the city retracted and finally established a regulation in October 2018, which stipulates that all wood burning appliances used on its territory must emit 2.5 g/h or less when tested to EPA or CSA B415.1-10. Therefore, existing appliances on the territory of the city of Montreal that emit more than 2.5 g/h must be replaced or condemned.
Are there any exemptions?
Yes, there are! Decorative wood fireplaces and mass fireplaces are not subject to the requirements of the EPA or CSA B415.1-10 standards in the United States or Canada. They can therefore be legally sold and installed in most regions. These types of fireplaces are regrouped into specific sections on the Valcourt web site and are easily identifiable. Despite their exempt status, we highly recommend that you verify their acceptance with your municipality. Indeed, exceptions apply. For instance, the city of Montreal has banned decorative wood fireplaces. In the United States, Washington State requires that decorative fireplaces be submitted to a specific emissions test that limits the emissions they can produce. Certain Valcourt decorative wood fireplaces qualify for Washington State under the EPA Voluntary Wood Fireplace Program. Indeed, models FP1, FP7 and FP11 meet the requirements of this program.
Since decorative wood fireplaces are used occasionally, they are ideal for homeowners seeking the ambiance and exceptional beauty of a wood fire. Decorative wood fireplaces are not designed for whole-house heating and they will burn wood much faster than a performance fireplace. Indeed, as opposed to performance fireplaces, decorative wood fireplaces do not have an air control that allows the operator to reduce their combustion rate. It is therefore not possible to obtain an overnight burn. However, rest assured that Valcourt’s decorative wood fireplaces will remain a valuable asset. They will generally produce sufficient heat to keep your house at a minimally acceptable temperature during a power outage.
What is a g/h?
It is the number of grams of fine particles emitted by the appliance for every hour of combustion.
How much g/h does my appliance emit?
If you already own a performance wood-burning fireplace and wish to verify the number of g/h it emits, refer to your appliance’s certification label. It is normally located behind the appliance’s louvers. If the appliance’s emissions do not appear on the unit’s certification label (as it is often the case), you can also look at the owner’s manual (available in the Manuals Directory) or directly in the product page of our website if it is a recent appliance. Please note that decorative wood fireplaces will never have their emissions listed on the certification label because they are exempt products.
The standard at Valcourt
Our engineering team is working hard to offer you efficient products that are also environmentally friendly. All Valcourt high-effiency fireplaces are:
- Tested with cordwood. Since the daily use of wood burning appliances is done with this type of fuel, it is the most representative test method of the actual performance of the appliances. Incidentally, the EPA recommends that manufacturers use this type of fuel to perform certification tests.
- Non-catalytic. Unlike catalytic appliances, non-catalytic fireplaces require much less frequent and expensive maintenance. Reducing emissions of non-catalytic appliances requires a more efficient combustion, not the addition of a catalyst.
- Independently tested by an accredited laboratory under EPA- New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and/or CSA B415.1-10. You are therefore assured that the results obtained are credible, verifiable and repeatable.