Why Wood Stove Changeouts?

Cost-Effective Clean Air Solution

Across North America, government officials and community leaders have discovered a cost-effective new clean air solution that reduces excess smoke from old woodstoves and has a real impact on the lives of citizens by improving neighborhood air quality.  

The issue is simple. Pre-1992 wood stoves have limited controls on smoke emissions.  In contrast, today’s modern stoves cut emissions by over 70 percent.  In areas where there is a concentration of these older stoves and where conditions are right, smoke from these dirty stoves can cause an air quality problem.   

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) – in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), local governments and industry partners – supports the Woodstove Changeout Program.  This innovative program helps communities reduce emissions by providing consumers with incentives to remove old, dirty-burning woodstoves, or wood heating appliances, and replace them with clean, efficient new heating appliances.   

Proven Solution

There is strong evidence that changeout programs significantly improve air quality in communities where use of woodstoves is widespread.  New, certified stoves emit over 70 percent less particulate matter than older, conventional woodstoves.  EPA data demonstrates that replacing twenty old, conventional stoves with twenty EPA-certified stoves will prevent the emission of one ton of particulate matter into the environment each year – an example of the dramatic clean air improvements possible from woodstove changeouts. 

Cost-Effective Approach

For cities and states that must develop clean air plans to comply with strict new federal air quality standards, officials will find that a woodstove changeout program offers one of the most cost-effective solutions for achieving real and immediate air quality benefits.  The EPA estimates that a changeout program costs $2,000 per ton of particulate matter reduced.  Federal officials typically consider any clean air solution costing less than $10,000 per ton to be extremely cost-effective.

Community and Consumer Benefits

Communities that conduct woodstove changeout campaigns enjoy a wealth of benefits in addition to improved air quality.  Media coverage and other outreach activities raise public awareness about the importance of reducing emissions from wood stoves, and the options available to help citizens do their part.  For consumers, there is an added benefit in that today’s modern stoves are much more energy-efficient than older stoves (approximately 50 percent)…burning less wood for more heat and ultimately saving families money.  Cleaner air means fewer cases of asthma and other health problems caused by smoke particulates.  Plus, new stoves are often safer and can reduce the threat of household fires.

Continuing the Success Story

HPBA and EPA are now working to expand the Wood Stove Changeout Program and are reaching out to leaders in communities that may be candidates.  Use this tool kit to learn more about this innovative program, how changeouts have worked, and how you might start one in your community.

Find more information for
affiliate leaders & dealers

Learn about changeout
projects already underway

The U.S. EPA provides additional information to federal resources