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(ARA) – Whenever a “Back to the Future”-type movie or commercial runs, it’s always funny to see larger-than-life telephones, computers and even cars. These blast-from-the-past visual cues remind us of the technological advancements we enjoy every day. However, in the case of wood stoves, it’s more difficult to actually see the high-tech evolution as it’s hidden within the firebox.

Unlike design and fashion where styles and color define a generation or time period and can easily be identified as outdated or new, innovative changes and improvements in wood stove technology and construction are more difficult to evaluate.

In the hearth world, the word “old” or “clunker” doesn’t always refers to the stove’s appearance or design style – it describes an antiquated fire-box combustion system and/or manufacturing practices that are out of date, inefficient and possibly an environmental concern.

There is no doubt that when it comes to wood stoves, new is definitely better. An approved stove equipped with a non-catalytic combustion system that meets or preferably exceeds EPA standards (specifically phase 2 which limits the manufacturers of wood stoves to 7.5 grams/hr or less) is a must, because it keeps the air cleaner by dramatically reducing smoke particle emissions. The precise use of primary, secondary and tertiary air supplies ensures that the modern wood stove burns smoke before it reaches the chimney, thus significantly increasing fuel efficiency. Smoke accounts for up to 60 percent of the fuel’s potential heat energy.

While decade birthdays do deserve extra recognition, if you’ve had your wood stove for 10 years or more, you really need to compare its performance and compliance in terms of today’s EPA standards or even stricter Washington state requirements. A new high-performance wood stove may just be the right home-improvement solution. This simple, eco-wise change can minimize your carbon footprint, reduce fossil fuel use, lower your heating costs and even enhance your home value.

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying your very first wood stove or replacing an old one, it’s important that you follow current “green” criteria and only evaluate products with advanced wood combustion systems. Look for an eco-friendly label, such as the Nordic Swan Eco-label that recognizes companies that are actively reducing their environmental footprint in terms of production practices and packaging. Review stove manufacturers’ literature and Web sites to learn more about the company’s recycling, clean-burning technology and company-wide conservation practices.

Craig Shankster, president of Morso NA, describes a few ways that Danish wood stove manufacturer demonstrates environmentally responsible practices. “Instead of using high-tech machinery to build new high-quality cast iron wood stoves, highly trained individuals handcraft each stove using 98 percent recycled material. Eighty percent of the energy consumed at the Morso production facility in Denmark comes from renewable sources – 69 percent wind and 11 percent bio gas – and the Morso U.S. headquarters in Portland, Tenn. are powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”

Whether you’re motivated by the benefits of naturally warm wood energy, flame-side ambience, or fall in love with a particular cast-iron wood stove style, this is great time to buy a new high-performance wood stove. Not only do you qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,500 if you purchase before Dec. 31, 2010, you support local businesses when you buy from them. To learn more about wood stove options, visit www.morsona.com or call (866) 883-9619.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Author: Andy Quayle

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