Questions and Answers

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How often should I have my chimney serviced?

We adhere to the National Fire Protection Association’s recommendation that a chimney be inspected once a year. Cleanings should be done as needed (typically after every 2 to 3 cords of wood burned) to maintain an open draft and prevent creosote buildups. Ideally, have your chimney serviced in the summer. Among other benefits, this allows for problems to  be remedied before the winter comes.

Can I use my gas fireplace in a power outage?

Yes, you can! Many fireplaces are equipped with a “standing pilot” system that allows the pilot to be lit with a push button igniter. This pilot light will actually produce the millivolt electricity needed to use the fireplace. Other fireplaces have “electronic ignition” which typically comes with a battery backup for use in a power outage. With either system, the blower will not work.

What does the term "zero clearance" mean?

The term “zero clearance” describes a wood or gas fireplace that can be built in the wall during a remodel or new construction. These fireplaces are insulated so that wood framing can be brought in close proximity to the appliance.

How do I get a good draw established?

Try putting several pieces of wadded up paper on top of your kindling fire and light the top paper before the bottom. The quick heat from the paper on top will help establish a draw.

How do I light my pilot?


For standing pilot/ manual ignition systems:

Step 1: Locate and open the gas valve that supplies fuel to the appliance.

Step 2: Locate the fireplace’s pilot assembly for future reference (located behind and below logs in the firebox – typically in the bottom center).

Step 3: Locate control valve with “On”, “Off”, and “Pilot” positions and push button igniter.

Step 4: With the control valve in the “pilot” position, depress knob on control valve while simultaneously and repeatedly pressing the igniter button.

Step 5: Verify that there is a pilot flame at the pilot assembly and continue depress control valve knob for 30 seconds.

Step 6: With pilot light standing on it’s own, advance the control valve knob to the “On” position.

Step 7: Replace the glass front and use your fireplace’s switch or remote to turn on the burner.

* If you do not see a red or black spark igniter button, you do not have a manual ignition system. If power is actively supplied to your fireplace, simply turn the on/off button, wall switch or remote control to “on” to ignite your main burner.

What is the best size for a wood stove?

As for the best stove size, talk with experienced hearth product retailers who know the performance characteristics of the products they sell. Bring a floor plan of your home when you visit them.  Knowledgeable retailers can help you find a wood stove, fireplace insert, or other hearth product that is well suited to the space you want to heat.

How should I build a fire in my wood stove?

Take your tinder (paper, or another dry, readily ignited material) and place it in the middle of your firebox. Next, pile kindling ( small to intermediately sized sticks of wood) around your tinder. A tepee-like shape works well to allow airflow. Next, place your fuel (small to medium pieces of firewood) around your kindling. A “log cabin” stack is ideal. Next, light your tinder with a match or lighter and muse by the fire.

Will switching to an EPA-certified stove save money?

Yes.  With an EPA-certified wood stove, you can expect to use up to one-third less firewood than you would use in an older, less efficient stove.  The smoke that you see coming out of the chimney is really lost energy.  In an EPA-certified stove, most of the smoke is burned, resulting in more heat for your home from the same amount of wood.  It will also save you time because you will need to haul less wood.

How can I tell if my stove is EPA-certified?

EPA-certified wood stoves will be labeled on the back, indicating EPA certification.  If you’re shopping for a new stove, in addition to the label, the stove will have a white hang tag indicating it is EPA-certified.

Can I get my stove certified?

No. Certification is completed by stove manufacturers when introducing a new model line. To meet certification requirements, stoves must have pollution control systems built into them.

Is “EPA-certified” the same as “EPA-qualified

No, Since 1988, the EPA has implemented the regulations called the Residential Wood Heater New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that govern the manufacture and sale of wood heaters (wood and pellet stoves, fireplace inserts, hydronic heaters and force-air furnaces).  Models that meet the requirements of the NSPS  are considered EPA-certified. EPA-qualified is a term used for fireplaces that have been demonstrated to meet the emission levels set by EPA’s Voluntary Fireplace Program.  These fireplaces can emit no more than 5.1 grams of particulate matter per kilogram of wood burned in order to qualify for the voluntary program.  EPA started this program to encourage manufacturers to make lower emitting models because fireplaces are not considered wood heaters and therefore not covered under the NSPS but do emit harmful air pollution.

Do EPA-certified stoves burn cleaner than non-certified?

When wood is not completely burned, a complex mixture of gases and particles – wood smoke – is created.  Because EPA-certified wood stoves are designed with better insulation and improved airflow, more of these gases and particles are burned inside the stove, resulting in less smoke.  In most cases, you will see no visible emissions from the chimney, and you will smell less smoke from a properly installed EPA-certified stove.

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