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So Which stoves are the cleanest burning stoves?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by elkimmeg, Sep 26, 2007.

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  1. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    EXACTLY!

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Let me put this in perspective - if you snorted .7 grams of coke a day, you'd have a pretty normal life. But at 20 grams a day, you'd be dead.
    :coolsmirk:

    Griz, the expectation of things lining up with EPA results may be "assumed", but that does not mean there is any truth in it! Among the big problems is that these stoves are tested in various labs all over the country (usually at the maker of the stove), using different technicians and many different "trust" factors.

    If all the stoves were tested at the same facility using relatively similar stoking techniques, that might make it closer. Maybe the answer is to have two standards - one with all the strange wood (2x4's) and one with cordwood of a certain size and moisture content....and allowing higher numbers on the cord wood.

    The bottom line is that any "system" that we come up with gets abused.....think of truckers and their log books! Is anyone here going to claim that truckers only drive the amount of hours they are allowed to? Look at SPAM on the net. Do you play sports? Look at all the cheaters, advantage players, dopers, etc.

    When money is involved, folks will use the system for their own benefit. Unfortunately, this does not always translate to the benefit of the customer!
  3. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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    My van said it got 26 mpg on the window sticker when I bought it but I get around 20. I want my money back!
  4. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    My Uncle George was an archery buff, and entered shooting competitions. His bows were incredible pieces of counter-balanced machinery, far from the sturdy yew branch doubtless used by his ancestors. His arrows were similarly engineered, to fly true every time. Dad & I used to go watch George shoot, and I can tell you that even though all the participants in a given competition were similarly tooled-up with state of the art equipment, arrows ended up all over the place. Even George, who had been shooting all his life, couldn't hit the bull every time, and often fired a completely errant shot.

    The thing was, even the worst competitors in the match wouldn't have thought of showing up with bows and arrows that weren't at least CAPABLE of hitting the bullseye.

    I tend to look at EPA-approved woodstoves like George looked at his bows & arrows. Every stoveowner won't burn every stove as efficiently as the testing lab did all the time, and there are probably some folks who NEVER will, but as more and more EPA-approved models replace the old smoke-dragons, the likelihood of hitting that bullseye increases, and the overall air quality improves.

    Here in Washington State, the emissions standard for non-catalytic woodstoves is 4.5 grams/hr or less, and we think of that standard as the bullseye. We tell our customers that, given all the real-world variables involved with testing and using woodstoves, we consider all stoves that are capable of operating in that range to be state of the art, and suggest they make their final decision based on other factors.
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    i just went back and re-read,glossed over the "epa test" in kalmath falls and portland. the test IMHO is a joke. almost half of the test units were in their own inspectors view impaired to the point that the units ability to perform as tested origionally was comprimised, also , several did not have stack heights that the unit required to operate properly (i mean come on , a cat stove with an 8 foot stack, at 4100 ft above sea level?) notice also that flue cross sections were not listed or factored into the test.its almost like they shopped around for "worst case "wood , some of which listed in the "dry" range at 30% one loading in the test listed a "wet" of 105% i realize that real world testing is meant to be done wth "average" conditions, but this is insane i want to see what is coming out of a seasoned woodburner such as we have in here's chimney , test BB's emmissions with the 30 nc, or elks with his VC with them burning the wood they procure themselves (note that in this "study" bundles of wood were provided to the subjects for the test burns)

    now, i agree that tests done in the labs are under a controlled situation with 15 lbs of 13% dried douglas fir, and they come in with some prety impressive numbers. in the real world burning 40 lbs of 18% to 22% moisture oak or mixed woods is not going to give BB emmissions of 1.6 GPH but its not going to look like a steam engine like the beginning of petticoat junction either.

    how many of us i here are running a catalytic unit into an 8 foot stack? especially at 4K ft above sea level, hell im suprised they could even get it to burn with the wood they were supplied with. one guy mentioned in the study straight up admitted that the unit was hard to start and even went out on him at times. (how clean do you think a fire starving out is burning?) one had the seal around his catalyst leaking (mentioned in the test) how much do you think that increased his GPH?

    ive already shot this report full of more holes than you can count over in the BI forum, bottom line , this test was done under substandard conditions with terrible hookups, flues that were listed as "cleaned annually" (mine gets checked monthly in season and it stays clean because of that) and remember , epa phase 2 had only been out a couple years, this was the first wave of epa stoves, the industry has gone so far beyond that now.

    i REFUSE to acknowledge this test as an acceptable representation of the products we (the hearth industry) furnishes to the public , and i will stand by my belief until proven otherwise in a realistic set of tests that cleaner lab tests does not result in cleaner "in the field" results.

    look at it this way , a stove that lab tests at .7 GPH in the lab , still should burn cleaner than a stove that came in at 5.5 GPH if installed in similar situations that fall under MFG specs, and proper cross sectional flues.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Mike, with all due respect, I would guess that many of your companies stoves are installed in worse ways - stovepipes out the windows, etc.

    In other words, it does make more sense that a VC or PE owner/buyer/user has been exposed to more information by the seller and installer of their unit, than the folks who buy at the hardware stores or home centers.

    Again, not to jump on your products....but the fact is that improper installations are out there in vast quantities and probably more jobs are wrong than right - considering the code changes, etc.

    No one is claiming this is the end-all of tests. But it was done by industry experts and professionals associated with a top lab, and they certainly did not run around looking for bad installations! Why would they do that?

    In my experience people rarely service their wood stoves until something falls apart. Yes, some people do, but most don't.

    If anything, this is an argument for the "tough Elk" style of advice and inspection, because no doubt the the stoves Elk inspected last year would do better than those on these tests. But in 5 years, all bets are off because who knows how the owners treated the stoves and let them degrade?

    So what is the fair test? Not a new stove. Not even a one year old stove. Not a perfectly installed stove with a perfect chimney. That is like testing a car on the skid pad right after you put new tires on, and saying that represents how the car will perform when it has 40,000 miles on it.

    That is where the "destructive" testing comes in, and since UL has no such thing (except for glass, etc.), it is a big wild card.

    Not to say we disagree on any of this - there is no standard to test to, so how can any test reflect the real world?

    The independent lab is a good idea - but, again, there is no way for it to make money or sustain itself. Do you think manufacturers like your own would contribute 10 grand a year to a lab which did destructive and cord wood tests, and published the results? Actually, I can imagine that certain companies might do this - since such a lab would in effect be improving their stoves (with ideas).......

    Would the BIGGIES fork up 10-30 grand a year to support such an effort? In the case of cars, we have the insurance industry who has a money interest in making certain cars are safe - so they are supported by the insurance industry and the manufacturers. Maybe that is a model...
  7. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    No one has factored in this what's few grams per hour? on a local individual stove burning 24/7 not that big a deal. That's the prevailing attitude

    Multiply that single stove by a couple million stoves now it is a big deal. 8 grams save a day by 2 million stoves 120 heating days 1,920,000,000 grams

    converted to lbs 4,229,075 or about 2,115 tons I call that quite a significant number to avoid releasing in our atmosphere.

    Anyone that down plays the significance is in total denial.

    Been a long post 6 pages long but to the poster that brought up the kalmath falls study I list in the total denial category. I have read the study all 70 pages a from all the " experts"
    page after page of comments the only consistent theme is that no 2 experts agree. Whoever dragged this study in to the post to validate there argument, was reaching for straws.
    A study ridiculed with holes Personally I would want a better example to support my side like DR Houk

    I want a few to flash back to High school math or Chemistry. At some point there is either a control of a given, before any equation/ experiment is solved. The standardized EPA testing is the control. Without a control or given, there is no testing or comparison or no valid results thats like saying you do not believe an inch is an inch or really is 2 w really 2 Without some set control
    or given no analysis or testing can be done.. If the poster does not believe me ,then chances are they never took High school math of chemistry, That being so,, then how the hell can they intelligently argue any testing scientific procedure or solve Quadratic equations. But hell all members here has superior intelligence than this inspector. At least at time this is the attitude I experience. Inspectors or carpenters do not have an intelligence level where the figure Valley and hip rafters as the diagonal of a cube Or know that common stairs stringers are set to 45 degrees but the variance of riser to tread length equates to usually the stair being between 35 to 37.5 degrees I figure common rafters using popagriums theorem A/sq plus B/sg = C/sq

    which happens to be the correct rafter length.. Point being, all our daily lives are governed by numbers and givens time, feet, miles, Mph, Gph, Sq ft, money, number of posters at Hearth .com traffic at hearth.com. But some of our members do not trust numbers? Controlled numbers under controlled environments? Who are they h to question what has been defined and established. For quite some time I have lead the charge seeking truth here. I'm glad some others have seem the hiprorcracy of what is being questioned here. and by whom.

    You have a dentist appointment at 2:15 but numbers or time are to be discredited.. The world exist using numerical numbers, but here on Hearth.com numerical comparisons are in valid says some?
  8. KeithO

    KeithO Minister of Fire

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    How many grams/hr come out the tailpipe of your truck /SUV / Hummer ? How many hours a day do you drive it ? What about your Seedoo of Skidoo ? Gas Lawnmower ? Riding Tractor ? The Semi's that haul all the crap we need to Walmart ? How many of those "devices" are out there compared to woodstoves ? Whats the weight in cordwood for all the stoves in the US compared to the barrels of crude we import every day ?

    I say if you operate your stove in a sensible manner and season your firewood, you shouldn't be a nuisance to your neighbors. Whether they will be a nuisance to you, with their SUV's or the F250's to pick up the groceries or whether they will squash you like a bug when they slide on the black ice in winter while not wearing snow tires, that is the question. Maybe your son, grandson or whatever will be shipping out to Iraq soon just to guarantee that other americans are able to continue to have an uninterupted supply of crude to feed these monsters.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Speaking of numbers, if 2 million stove owners bought the Encore instead of the Englander, that would be $1000 difference per stove, or a total of TWO BILLION dollars extra money spent.

    That kind of money would feed a couple hundred million folks in Africa, and buy enough medicine to save countless children. See, I do know math.

    The last numbers I trusted were "The Iraq war will take 3 weeks (that is 21 days)."
    and "The war will cost 30 billion, but we will get that back from oil" - it will end up costing at least 30X that much, and we ain't getting it back!

    So now I am expected to believe Elks nnumerical world exist? No, I have more faith in all the folks with letters after their name who are listed on the study.

    But, please, we have beat this dead horse enough. Time to end this thread. No more new info. Read the studies, read the tags and believe what you want. Just be nice, don't put people down, and don't shill for stove companies (other than one that you perhaps work for)....
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    If you had any respect at all ,you would not make baseless statement that can not be backed up by statistical data.. Just what is you motive for making such a blanket baseless statement?

    I
    I have read the installation manual Englander provides with every stove they sell they are equal to any other manufacturer detailing what is required for proper installation. What only installers can read the manual? Far from the truth installer are equally in neglect of following manufactures listing as home owners. I know from personal experience inspecting. Again based upon facts an not some made hypnosis you may think is true. Again do you have any statistical data to validate this point?

    Eventually more and more members are going to see through this . That you will discredit Englander,
    insult the level of their purchasers intelligence, to validate your oppinion based on no statistical data. You my friend are your own worst enemy, keep talking and you will leave little doubt about it. You are willing to throw Englander under the bus to make an ill faithated attempt to support your opinion? You use grams of cocaine to make you point about GPH? If I were you I would be thinking about damage control. How anything I said has an ounce of creditability. Do you think mike, at ESW wants to be a sponsor and advertise, after your belittlement?

    You are probably right I don't belong here. I seek facts , substantiated date to support accusations. I don't prescribe to what I think and make blanket statement, guessing other may believe the same..

    Expect this post to end
    Like the many post that did not go his way. This was an informational post until he attacked Englander. Now that he has been exposed ,expect he will pick up his toys in the sand box and end the post because he lost creditability Talk about fairness and honesty? When proven wrong I will admit it .I don't hide behind key strokes to get the last word. There was a lot of information that came out in this post that will be buried. One might ask at who's expense all or ours, Testing procedures, certifications, the top 10 the cleanest stoves.
  11. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    Let me give you a different perspective Elk.

    I checked your math and it looks good to me. I googled particulate emmisons for trucks and found a site. I booked marked it if you want to see it. It was from the Univeristy of California Riverside. Anyway here is one of them.
    1994 Ford f350 160.9 mg/mile of particulate = .1609 grams per mil = just under 12 and a half miles for every two grams of particulate it makes. Some of them were putting out a half a gram a mile.

    So 12 and half miles equals the couple of grams or with a really bad one 4 miles equals the two grams. These were pickup trucks too. Not semis.

    Which brings me back to my original statement. What's the big deal over a couple of grams?
  12. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    UCR, my alma mater! And home to one of the best air pollution research labs in the world.
  13. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    yes..and that's exactly my point.....unless you do have (and you DON'T have) contrary data, you must revert to "apples and apples" data supplied by the EPA.....
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    One of the things I think we lack, and I think might be useful is to try the experiment to SEE what sort of relationship there is in even an "idealized" situation that looks more like a "real world" test than an EPA test.

    Mike & Corie - I ask this of you mostly because you are the most visible people on the board that have access to a burn lab, I would certainly think it was great if other stovemakers were to do the same thing... I know that doing an "official" test burn w/ all the monitoring and such costs thousands, but what does an "unofficial" test cost? I know VC said they ran lots of unofficial tests to make sure they'd be able to get a good one when it counted, I'd assume you folks do the same - how much does such a run cost?

    The reason I'm asking is to propose a challenge - for Englander and anyone else... Put a new, or lightly used, stove in the lab, hook it up to a chimney that's as close to the minimum spec in the owners manual as your test equipment will allow, and burn a full load of "normal firewood" - ideally get loads from different parts of the country (I'll put up a load of mostly red oak from my pile...) to get different wood varieties - in accordance with the directions printed in the manual, and tell us what you get for a GPH.

    Would it be a perfect reflection of the real world? Absolutely not, but it would probably be a far closer resemblance than what the EPA number is, and would give some idea of what one might reasonably expect to achieve. If it were possible to get several stove makers to do this, it would even go a long ways towards the "conversion factor" of about what one should expect "real world" given an EPA number - sort of like we all know how to discount the EPA gas mileage estimates.

    My own personal expectations would be that just as real-world reported gas mileage doesn't match exactly to EPA numbers, but that cars that score in the same general range on the EPA tests will do similarly in the real world, stoves on the low end of "EPA Clean" will burn a bit cleaner than stoves on the high end, there won't be an exact match, and all will burn so much cleaner than the smoke dragons as to make no significant difference.

    Gooserider
  15. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest



    Karl There is no big deal if it were only a couple grams But when one starts factoring 24/7 4 months of heating Couple million stoves it becomes a big deal

    I we do have it within our power to lessen the effect Good burning practices keeping a stove maintained. Good cleaning and proper seasoning of our wood.

    Reality is, And I observe this all the time, that many owners have not considered wood till after the stove purchase they fall victims to the woodman and his definitions of " seasoned wood"

    The other day while doing an inspection I was shocked to see the delivered wood was actually seasoned could be used directly from the pile That was a first for me

    Point being ,the pollution factors I used in a mock example are probably many time worse than that example.

    Right or wrong people comparison shop.. Hybrid cars would never sell if people did not believe the numbers indicate they are cleaner to run

    Same attitude people will look at GPH numbers and will factor in their purchase.. Really its ok to try to be greener

    What most here do ,is seek info , try to get educated about cleaner burning. help others
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    To a degree this is already done Goose. Virtually all stove makers publish max BTU numbers from burning cordwood. Those numbers could only come from stuffing a stove in the lab, hooking up the wires and letting'er rip. But, at that point there is no possible benefit to the manufacturer in publishing the emissions of the cordwood run. It is going to be higher than the EPA runs every day of the week and while low EPA numbers may not sell incrementally more stoves, higher numbers from a cordwood test would come back to bite them in the butt sales wise. Having a high BTU number=sales. Disclosing any number higher than the EPA number=beat over the head with them by the competition (and people like BI) and less sales.

    In fact if I was the manufacturer I would never hook up the emissions gear during the cordwood tests. I wouldn't want those GPH numbers to exist anywhere.
  17. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    The more I read about EPA GPH's, the more I feel it was a good idea, turned into
    a "marketing tool". Like was mentioned in previous posts, where car mfr's claim
    an MPG on their car, but "real world" is significantly less.....

    With that in mind, stove mfrs. with a "vision" would be foolish not to take advantage
    of the "system" & some how get their stove to have tested as low as possible.
    Through valid testing, or perhaps less-than-valid testing means.

    Ponder this.....
    Where I live our cars have to pass emissions testing. Many people I work with
    drive cars that the CAT converter is shot, and they know it. But, they also know
    "tricks" to get around test, and pass everytime. Within a handfull of miles after the "test",
    their vehicle is puking out as much carbon as ever.

    Rob
  18. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    and the numbers would be all over the place because of the different wood and moisture contents, which is why precisely its done the way its done, to establish a baseline that all units can be tested at equally
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey, there are no sacred cows here - not even Web or the building inspector!
    That's what is so much fun about it.......

    My Theory : The electrical, plumbing and other supplies bought by a retail purchaser at Home Depot are less likely to be installed properly than the same stuff bought at the electrical supply counter.

    However, for purposes of this conversation, there are a large % of ALL stoves that are installed in ways other than perfect.

    Having lived in both WV and TN, and having stuck much stovepipe through the window and up through grommets of tents, I can assure Elk that he will find more improper installs south of the Mason-Dickson line than he will in his township. Then again, you will also find more in the hollows of NH that are wrong, then in the suburbs of boston.

    Elk, you seem to get your jollies by thinking that you "won" or somebody "lost" an argument. According to your twisted logic, there is a winner and loser in every detail of life......not true at all. There are perceptions, fine details, information, guesses, gray areas and lots of other stuff you should become familiar with.

    But, for perhaps the 12th time, this forum is not about you attacking anyone, or defending anyone....or proving your manhood. Please restrict your posts to information and not to your "regarded" opinion on my opinion. My "delete" finger is getting real itchy, and once it starts it is likely to result in you wasting a lot of words.
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