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cookstoves in Washington state

In the New Source Perfomance Standard for Wood Heat, The EPA ruled that wood cookstoves are exempt from emission regulations. Great news for all cookstove users, right?

Not quite. The EPA's emission limits are the minimum limits that a state is required to have, but any state can add onto those limits in order to control their air quality even more. Washington is one state that has stricter emission standards than most, and as a result, it can be confusing to sort out what wood-burning appliances are allowed and what are not. As the largest seller of wood cookstoves in North America with the largest product line, we at Obadiah's wanted to try and clear things up for our neighbors who live over in the beautiful state of Washington.

The Washington Department of Ecology defines a wood-fired cookstove as "an appliance designed primarily for cooking food." Under Washington law, a cookstove has to have the following characteristics to be exempt from emission testing:

  • An oven with a volume of 1 cubic foot or greater and an oven rack
  • A device for measuring oven temperatures
  • A flame path that is routed around the oven
  • An ash pan
  • A soot clean-out door below the oven
  • No fan or heat channels used to dissipate heat from the appliance
  • A cooking surface measured in square inches or square feet that is 1.5 times greater than the firebox, which is measured in cubic inches or cubic feet (A firebox of 2 cubic feet would require a cooking surface of at least 3 square feet.)
  • A portion of at least four sides of the oven will be exposed to the flame path during the oven heating cycle, while a flue gas bypass will be permitted for temperature control.

The following wood cookstoves provided by Obadiah's are exempt from Washington's emission regulations:

  • The Baker's Oven
  • Vermont Bun Baker
  • deManincor cookstoves
  • Heckla cookstoves

The Washington Department of Ecology also notes:

- All wood heaters (wood stoves, pellet stoves, etc.) made after 1939 or that fall outside the cook stove definition above must be emission tested.
- Devices designed or advertised as room heaters that also bake or cook do NOT qualify as wood-fired cook stoves and must meet the Washington emission standard of no more than 4.5 grams of fine particulate matter per hour.
- You should contact your local Air Agency to understand potential limits to cook stove use during burn bans. A list of air agencies is found here.
- Contact Rod Tinnemore (360-407-6978) at the Washington State Department of Ecology for questions regarding qualifying stoves, sales or emission test facilities.

This information can be found online via the Washington DoE's official website, here.

Manufacturers will find additional information online here.