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Five Warning Signs Your Wood Stove Needs Replacing

old wood stoveWood stoves are built to last but, if you have an old model, it may be time to upgrade.

A wood-burning stove can be an excellent alternative heating source with the ability to warm up a large area of your home using an inexpensive, renewable fuel source. When you use an efficient, EPA-certified wood-burning stove that’s designed to burn cleanly, you can save money on your heating bills and feel better about your environmental impact. If you have an older model, that is not EPA-certified, you may be contributing to air pollution in your area and losing out on heat efficiency.

According to research conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), non-certified wood stoves can be up to 50% less efficient than EPA-certified wood stoves. Inefficient stoves burn more fuel and create more exhaust despite producing less heat. Meaning you will have to make more trips out to the wood pile to fuel a stove that isn’t an effective heater. The extra smoke, due to the stove’s poor combustion, can negatively impact the air quality in your home and outside.

Even an EPA-certified wood stove can become less efficient over time. The average lifespan of a wood-burning stove is 10 to 20 years. If your heat appliance is getting old or has become damaged, it may be time to upgrade to a new, safer model.

Look out for one of these five warning signs to find out if your wood burning stove needs to be replaced.

Warning sign #1 – No EPA Label

You should see an EPA label on the back of your stove that indicates it has been certified. If you do not see this label, it is a sign that your stove does not meet the high energy efficiency and clean burning standards of new stoves. (Most stoves made before 1995 are not EPA-certified.)

Warning sign #2 – Dark Smoke

Dark smoke venting from your wood stove is a clear sign that your heat appliance does not have an efficient combustion system. You may also notice that the dust in your house dramatically increases when you use your wood stove because of how much smoke and soot it produces. This can cause respiratory problems, irritated eyes and other allergy symptoms. New, EPA-certified stoves are designed to produce significantly less smoke. Their efficient combustion system burns up more of the wood so that less particles and gases are released into the air.

Warning sign #3 – Short Burn Times

Do you have to make frequent trips to your wood pile to keep your stove burning? Efficient wood stoves can burn the same load of wood for hours. If your stove burns wood quickly, it may be a sign that there is a leak in the ash pan, gasket seal or door that is making your stove burn as if the door is always open. Upgrading to a new model will cut down on your trips to the woodshed and increase the heat output of your stove.

Warning sign #4 – Poor Performance

Difficulty lighting your stove and low heat output are signs that your stove is performing poorly. These signs may be indicators that the welded components on your stove have warped or that the baffling has caved. The best solution to solve these problems is a new stove.

Warning sign #5 – Warped Steel on the Top or Sides

Wood StoveThe steel along the top and sides of your stove should be sooth and flat. If it is rippling in any area, it means that the steel has become warped. This will dramatically reduce its efficiency by allowing more air into the stove than it was designed for. It also means that your stove is less safe to use. Upgrading to a new wood stove will give you more heat and reduce the risks of using your heating appliance.

If your stove has any of these warning signs, give us a call! We offer in-home consultations so that we can help you find the best model to meet your needs and suit your aesthetic. The hearth experts on our team at Hudson Valley Chimney Service are here to find the best wood burning stove to complement your home décor and heat the square footage you need.

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