Many people ask me if double barrel wood stoves are illegal. In short, no, double barrel stoves are not illegal to use.
This question of legality comes from the implementation of government regulations with regards to emission standards. You can review those rules here at EPA for US wood stove standards.
Manufacturers do not design double barrel stoves, and therefore barrel stoves are usually not manufactured in accordance with modern emissions legislation.
Since double barrel stoves are DIY (or home made), and not sold by a business operator, the use of barrel stoves is still common.
Why are some wood stoves illegal?
Environmental agencies in many countries recognize the high emissions rate of wood stoves into the atmosphere. As such many governments around the world have put in place strict legislation governing the design of wood stoves to ensure lower emissions.
It is estimated that over 10 million wood stoves are in operation each year in the United States alone. Many if not most of these stoves do not meet current design rules.
A typical wood stove with a build date circa 2000 can be expected to produce approximately 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of fine particulate pollution per year. That’s approximately equivalent to the pollution to 5 diesel trucks per year.
It is the high pollution rate of old style wood stoves that has necessitated the new design laws for wood stoves.
How do new wood stoves emit less pollution?
New wood stoves must comply to modern emission standards.
Lowering emissions is done by designing highly efficient wood stoves. The main design consideration of new stoves is to ensure that fine particulates (that we see as smoke exiting a chimney of flue) is fully burnt in the combustion chambers of the wood stove.
There are many design features that help wood stoves reduce fine particulate emissions, the most common and effective are;
- installation of a catalytic converter in the flue,
- baffles that trap heat inside the combustion chamber,
- air dampers that regulate air flow, and
- secondary combustion process.
What can I do to make my double barrel wood stove produce less emissions?
- Use only seasoned wood,
- Burn hard woods in your wood stove,
- Do not try to burn wet wood,
- Monitor air damper settings and adjust as necessary,
- Do not burn wood if it is not necessary,
- Remove creosote buildup from flue regularly, to keep optimum draft performance,
- Install a heat exchanger in the wood stove flue,
- Make sure your home is air tight, stop heat leak, and cold drafts,
- Use fans to push air throughout the heating area,
- Remove ash from the firebox regularly to improve air circulation,
- Install a catalytic converter with preheated secondary air intake.
It is highly recommended to upgrade old stoves to new wood stoves that are compliant to latest pollution regulations.
If my old stove is no longer able to be sold, can I still use it?
Yes you can still use an old wood stove that does not meet current regulations.
Why are people so interested if double barrel wood stoves are illegal?
Double barrel wood stoves are cheap to build and offer a high degree of heat output. Low cost and high heat output makes them perfect for heating a garage or workshop.