`Check the label' on wood stoves

Anyone planning to buy a wood stove to heat the home this winter should check the label.

Since 1992, it has been illegal to advertise, sell or install a wood stove that does not have the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification label.

Starting in 1986, the Oregon DEQ required all new wood stoves sold in Oregon to carry a Wood Stove Certification Label certifying that the stove met state emission (air pollution) requirements.

The EPA began testing and certifying stoves in 1988 and Oregon adopted the federal emission performance standards for certification. Any stove with either the DEQ or EPA certification labels are considered approved and "Oregon certified." Both DEQ and EPA certification labels are permanently attached to the stove, and are usually located on the back with other safety labeling.

There are exceptions to the label requirement. Some wood heating devices do not need to be certified. These include pellet stoves, antique stoves built before 1940, cook stoves, and ducted wood furnaces that are part of a central heating system.

Consumers need to be aware of the certification label requirement, especially if they are shopping for a used wood stove. Often, homeowners who do not understand the wood stove requirements will try to sell their old unapproved wood stoves through classified ads. They often mistake common safety labeling (for example, the Underwriters Laboratory/UL label) for Oregon certification. Safety labeling is not the same as "certification."

Check the stove carefully for the Oregon DEQ or EPA certification label. If it doesn't have a certification label, don't buy the stove," said David Collier of DEQ's Air Quality Division. "It would also be helpful to others if you suggest to the seller that they contact DEQ so they can get information about their stove."

Certified stoves mean less wood smoke pollution and more heat for the money. Wood smoke is particularly troublesome in areas susceptible to temperature inversions, in which pollution is trapped near the ground. In those areas, wood stoves are the leading source of wintertime air pollution.

Some particles in wood smoke are so small that the body's natural defenses cannot keep them out of the lungs. These smoke particles can cause severe respiratory irritation or aggravate existing lung or heart problems. Older people, children and people with asthma are most at risk for health problems caused by wood smoke particles. Wood smoke also contains toxic and cancer-causing compounds.

In terms of total heat energy produced, an uncertified woodstove can waste up to 60 percent of the wood burned. Persons who currently own an old, inefficient stove should consider replacing it with a newer, cleaner heating system.


Commonly asked questions:

* What is a "certified stove?" A certified stove is one that has been tested and has passed air pollution standards.

* What is "Oregon DEQ certification"" From 1984 to 1988, Oregon DEQ tested wood stoves for air pollution and approved those that met standards. These approved stoves will carry an Oregon DEQ certification label.

* What is "EPA certification?" Starting in 1988, EPA began certifying stoves. Newer approved stoves will carry an EPA label.

* Do I need a permit to install a wood stove? Yes. State building codes require a permit and inspection for wood stove installations. Building codes allow the installation of only Oregon DEQ- or EPA-certified stoves.

* Are there any exceptions to the wood stove requirements? Yes. Pellet stoves, antique stoves, cook stoves, and wood-fired central heating furnaces do not have to be certified. A permit is still required for installation.

For more information on wood stove certification and wood smoke pollution prevention, contact DEQ toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-4011 or visit DEQ's Web site at:

www.deq.state.or.us/aq .

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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