While shopping around for a wood burning unit, you may notice the acronyms “EPA” and “CSA”… You may see that some stoves are 2020 EPA Certified and some are not, some fireplacess are EPA Compliant, EPA exempt, some inserts burn 4.4 gr/hr, etc… But what do these terms mean? And what does this mean to you, as a customer and wood burner?
EPA and CSA: General Definition
EPA stands for the Environmental Protection Agency. US President Richard Nixon established this agency in the 1970’s as a federal quality control measure, to ensure people and the environment are protected.
CSA stands for Canadian Standards Association. Similar to EPA, the CSA focuses on 57 specific areas of person and environmental protection and creates the standards set for compliance.
Why Does This Matter To You?
Not only do these agencies protect people and the environment, but it’s also something your Home Insurance Provider will be interested in.
What’s the Difference Between EPA Rating and Efficiency Rating?
There is a big difference between EPA ratings and efficiency ratings!
EPA Ratings are based on unbiased, multiple- scenario tests by the EPA, to list true efficiency ratings.
“Efficiency rating” in a brochure/online is a number the manufacturer creates themselves, based on their own in-house testing.
Keep in mind that manufacturers have the option to set their unit up to burn optimally, to get a higher “efficiency rating” by manipulating their test environment/fuel type, whereas EPA is more reflective of how efficient the unit will work in your own home.
Therefore, you’ll notice EPA Rating is pretty well always lower than the efficiency rating.
At Atlantic Fireplaces, we make a point to focus on the EPA rating and grams per hour (g/hr) burned in emissions, when talking to customers.
What is Emissions g/hr?
This number tells you how much emissions goes up your chimney in the run of an hour.
The lower the number is, the more efficient the stove is. Lower emissions also means longer burn times and the ability to adjust the heat output.
We always try to stay under 4.4 g/hr with wood burners, at Atlantic Fireplaces. Some of our units, specifically the Blaze King units, go as low as 0.8 g/hr!
What’s the Difference Between the Terms?
“EPA Certified” – This means your wood burner has been tested by the EPA and the g/hr emission results were lower than EPA’s established limit. If you’re looking for a way to get longer, consistent burn times, you’ll want your wood burner to be EPA Certified at a low g/hr rate.
“EPA Exempt” – These wood burners are created purely for ambiance- They give a big, beautiful flame but do not rely on them to heat your space. Wood burners exempt from EPA tend to be 5 h/gr in emissions or higher.
“EPA Compliant” or “EPA Qualified” – This means the wood burner was tested and meets the qualifications of EPA standards, but it is not officially certified by the EPA. These units are more efficient than your standard wood burning fireplace with brick chimney because it is insulated. It will still produce heat in your home while burning, and will provide a beautiful flame. That being said, do not except an EPA Compliant/Qualified wood burner to keep your house warm for long periods of time or through the night.
“CSA B415.1-10 Certified” – Similar to “EPA Certified”, CSA uses a similar certification process to the EPA. This number is actually even more promising to reflect real burn times/emission rates, than EPA Certified rates.