Wood Stoves, Pellet Stoves, & Fireplaces
According to US Census data, approximately half the homes in the greater Olympic Peninsula and Coastal area of Washington have some type of wood-burning heating device, ranging from wood stoves to fireplaces. When monitoring data indicate that pollution levels are rising, ORCAA may declare a burn ban restricting certain activities in areas impacted by the pollution.
Practices for clean burning in wood stoves and fireplaces
- Burn dry seasoned wood. Season wood outdoors through the hot, dry summer for at least 6 months before burning it. Properly seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grain, and sounds hollow when smacked against another piece of wood.
- Build small hot fires.
- Make sure the fire has plenty of air. OPEN the damper.
- Relight the fire in the morning. Do not let the fire smolder overnight. This creates a lot of smoke and creates dangerous creosote buildup.
- Let the fire burn down to coals and then rake the coals toward the air inlet, creating a mound. Do not spread the coals flat.
- Reload by adding at least three pieces of wood each time, on and behind the mound of hot coals. Avoid adding one log at a time.
- Step outside and look at your chimney. If you see smoke, the wood is not burning completely. Smoke coming from the chimney means air pollution.
- Be aware of current burning conditions. During stagnant periods, a Burn Ban may be in effect. Sign up for our mailing list for burn ban updates
- Obtain a moisture meter to test wood if unsure of wood moisture content.
- Clean the chimney stack periodically to ensure proper airflow.
Wood Stove Certifications and Requirements
Make sure you are using an EPA Certified Wood Stove that also meets Washington’s more stringent requirements. The State Department of Ecology (ECY) maintains lists of certified wood-burning devices.
- Wood stoves that meet both Washington and EPA standards
- Pellet stoves that meet both Washington and EPA standards
- Fireplaces that meet Washington standards
- Masonry heaters that meet Washington standards
- Wood-fired hydronic heaters that meet Washington standards
- Wood-fired furnaces that meet Washington standards
The following links provide valuable information about clean indoor burning practices