Lots of Maine residents rely on wood stoves as a primary or secondary home heating source. The design of today’s new stoves differs dramatically from those made during the heyday of “airtight” stoves back in the 1970s. Innovations in making stoves more efficient and cleaner — producing fewer particulate emissions, or smoke — were driven by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Those rules are in the process of changing again, which should make for even cleaner air. It will also likely mean more expensive stoves, according to retailers.
“There was nothing airtight about the old ‘airtight’ stoves,” said Jim Rockett, a salesman at Evergreen Home and Hearth in Ellsworth. As a marketing focus, he says, “airtight” was meant to suggest that customers would to be able to shut the stove down by eliminating the air, go away for the weekend, and have the coals there when they got home two days later.
“But in an oxygen-starved environment, you’re creating huge gobs of particulates,” Rockett said. “In Maine, we don’t have…”