A Black Market

Made just for me!

Wood-burning stoves offer warmth and enhance off-grid living options during cold weather months, but the tried-and-true heating devices now are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has banned the production and sale of the types of stoves used by about 80 percent of those with such stoves. The regulations limit the amount of “airborne fine-particle matter” to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current EPA regulations allow for 15 micrograms in the same amount of air space.

Most of the wood stoves currently nestled inside cabins and homes from coast-to-coast don’t meet the new environmental standard. The EPA launched a “Burn Wise” website to help convince the public that the new regulations were needed.

Trading in an old stove for a newer stove isn’t allowed.

“Replacing an older stove with a cleaner-burning stove will not improve air quality if the older stove is reused somewhere else,” the website says. “For this reason, wood stove change out programs usually require older stoves to be destroyed and recycled as scrap metal, or rendered inoperable.”

In some areas of the country, local governments have gone further than the EPA and banned not just the sale of such stoves, but the usage of old stoves – and even the usage of fireplaces. That means that even if you still have a stove or a fireplace, you can’t burn it for fear of a fine. Puget Sound, Washington, is one such location.

That is true. About half of the days during the Fall and Winter months it is illegal to fire up your stove round these parts. I have a pellet stove as my primary source of heat, so I have to watch the news to see what the dot gov has going on and wait until after dark to fire up.

And just like 764-HERO line, wherein commuters can report carpool lane violators, the counties and cities encourage folks to rat out their neighbors who use their stoves on “Burn Ban” days.

By the end of summer 2014, I’ll be taking requests for these Gaia-Choking Implements of Soothing Warmth. Send me your measurements.

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4 Responses to A Black Market

  1. Rivrdog says:

    What about the “geezer” exemption? There used to be such a hardship exemption up your way.

    Also, how about old, inefficient oil furnaces? No regs there. What you ought to fab up is an emergency kit for wood stoves to use diesel or Furnace #2. I have one such kit, made for an Army Arctic Tent Heater. It feeds from a Jerry can and has generators to use ANY liquid fuel, but it prefers diesel. Coleman Surplus has sold them recently. They make up to 55K BTU.

    Another thing: “Atmosphere” fires ARE allowed, except on Air Stagnation days. It should be easy enough to make a metal fire pit with a water-loop in it. You bring the water indoors in insulated metal flex tube, circulated by a 12-volt marine hot water circ pump. A Red-Dot or similar system extracts the heat indoors.

    There are definitely ways around these regs.

  2. Paul B says:

    Do I see your future as a budding manufacturer of wood stoves? Something along the lines of a small Ben Franklin style would be of interest.

  3. Yeah, last time I checked, burn bans only apply to people who have an alternative form of heating. If the wood stove is your only source, you get to ignore burn bans.

  4. Phil says:

    Paul, I could probably turn out a decent Franklin. I haven’t tried to ornament anything, so I’m not sure how “pretty” they’d be, but it’d work.

    Mad, it isn’t my “only” source. I have the traditional cheap-electricity region electric heating as well, which they will demand I use. I don’t like to do so because it triples my electric bill. The pellets for my stove cost me $215 a ton and a ton will last me a year.

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