oregon hearth, patio, barbcue association

Federal EPA Laws Lower Emissions for Wood and Pellet Stoves

Retailers of wood and pellet stoves across the U.S. were met with a deadline in 2020 that limits the types of Residential Wood Heaters that can be sold. The new rule that US EPA issued in 2015 covered all new residential wood and pellet stoves and inserts, hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces. This is known as NSPS "Phase 1." 

NSPS "Phase 2" took effect May 15, 2020. As of now Phase 1 stoves will not be able to be sold in stores. This is due to additional certifications for efficiency required in Phase 2 certification testing.

For an updated and current FAQ on these rules visit the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association website,  click HERE.

A Brief History of the Wood Stove

1700 -1800's

The "Franklin" Stove was invented. Primitive versions of wood cook stoves start entering houses and kitchens in the 1800's and they were perfected to be many times more efficient than the earliest models of the Franklin Stove. Many stoves were just built on site. Simple metal barrels, for example. 

Before 1970

Decorative, but moderately effective wood stoves and cook stoves were common in Oregon in kitchens, cabins and out buildings. These early stoves produced particulate emissions well over 40 grams per hour (gph).


Wood stoves and wood fired fireplace inserts refined to be used as central heaters in homes. Stoves were heavy, had solid metal doors, sometimes with a vent feature.  Heavily built, they last forever. Oregon DEQ has estimated that over 100,000 of these stoves are still in Oregon homes, garages and outbuildings.  

Mid 1980's

Oregon passes the first wood stove certification law in the country. Wood stoves must meet limits on particulate emissions. Pellet stove perfected for home use. Catalytic stoves perfected.

Early 1990's

EPA regulates wood stoves nation wide requiring gph emissions of no more than 7.5 gph for non-catalytic stoves, 4.1 gph for catalytic stoves. 40 gph. Wood stove change out campaigns start to become more popular in communities with air quality problems (failing to meet federal particulate emissions standards). Pellet stoves continue to be perfected, much more efficient than wood stoves. Natural gas fireplaces and free standing stoves become more popular and begin replacing wood stoves for supplemental heat. Reselling of uncertified stoves becomes illegal.


EPA begins process of tightening wood stove emissions standards. HPBA begins to work with EPA on the proposed rule. Oregon adopts tax credits for highly efficient wood and pellet stoves. Wood stove manufacturers invest in new technologies for wood stoves that dramatically improve emissions output. Wood stove change out campaigns become much more popular across the country and in Canada. Oregon adopts the Heat Smart" law requiring uncertified stoves to be removed when homes are sold. 


EPA adopts first major reduction in wood and pellet stove emissions requirements in 20 years based on Washington State emissions standards. Phase 1 of the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) lowers wood stove emissions to 4.5 gph for wood stoves and 2.5 gph for pellet stoves. 


EPA "Phase 2" NSPS rules further reduce emissions requirements for wood stoves to 2.5 gph for "cord wood" tested stoves, 2.0 gph for "crib" tested stoves. These new efficiency levels took effect May 15, 2020.  

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