New regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could change the way homeowners in Michigan decide to heat their homes.
The federal agency has implemented standards that would require new wood stoves and heaters to operate about 80 percent cleaner than current models. The rules took effect in 2015 and, according to the EPA, will lead to important air quality and public health improvements in communities across the country.
The EPA based its decision on the fact that smoke from residential wood heaters can increase toxic air pollution, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and soot to levels that pose serious health concerns.
The EPA is following the lead of a variety of municipalities across the country in attempting to restrict emissions from burning wood. As one example, Palo Alto, CA. has actually banned wood-burning fireplaces or stoves in new construction. Other cities in the western half of the country restrict residential wood burning when air quality is threatened.
Manufacturers say these new regulations for emissions most likely will make wood stoves more expensive or even difficult to find.
For Michiganders looking for alternatives to wood stoves, propane hearth products offer a cleaner-burning, healthier option. Propane stoves and fireplaces are more efficient and convenient than wood stoves, and they run on a fuel that’s easily available even in rural areas of the state.
Manufacturers remain uncertain what the future holds for wood stove prices and availability. But it’s clear that propane hearth products will now play an even bigger role in bringing clean-burning, affordable warmth to Michigan homes for many years to come.