If you are in the smoke reduction zone, it is illegal to operate or purchase an uncertified wood stove. This is true in both Oregon and Washington State. In Oregon, the law “requires removal and destruction of uncertified wood stoves and fireplace inserts when a home is sold. If a stove or insert is certified to meet wood smoke emission standards, it can remain in the home.”

How to Tell if Your Wood Stove Is EPA-Certified

A certified fireplace / wood stove will likely have a label on the back stating that it complies with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emission standards.

If your wood stove / fireplace does not have a label, there are other ways to help determine whether or not it is EPA-certified:

  • If the front has solid metal doors, it is uncertified.
  • If it has two glass doors, it is probably uncertified.
  • If it has one glass door, more information is needed.
  • If there is a brand/manufacturer name and model type on the device, search for it on the  EPA-certified wood stoves list. Otherwise, you will need to take a picture of it to a hearth dealer for help identifying.
  • If you have a fireplace insert, you will likely need to remove the surround (decorative facing) to be able to see the manufacturer’s label.
  • Consult the owner’s manual.
  • “UL Approved” and “UL Tested” do not mean that a fireplace or wood stove is EPA-certified.

Removing Uncertified Wood Stoves

Because uncertified wood stove and fireplace models are illegal to operate, sell, or even maintain after a sale, people are systematically eliminating them. If you find that yours is uncertified, you need to deal with it to legally be permitted to use it.

Chimcare is able to remove and properly dispose of uncertified wood stoves. Typically, they are found in older homes and require more work than simply removing the wood burning insert, often necessitating removal of the fireplace damper and back firebox wall as well. Because of this, it’s not safe to operate a fireplace without first completing the following three steps:

  • Have a chimney sweep remove the dangerous and flammable creosote build-up present. Wood stove inserts commonly allow creosote to build up in a chimney.
  • Install a rooftop damper. This replaces the fireplace damper that should have been installed along with the uncertified wood stove insert.
  • If the firebox is damaged or missing any elements, professionals will need to rebuild the firebox if it is ever to be used safely again.

Get Your Wood Stove Checked

If you have an older fireplace or wood stove you are considering bringing back to life, or have just purchased a new home and are not sure if the existing insert is still legal, check in with Chimcare and we’ll make sure you have a fireplace ready to enjoy year-round.