Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More people, more rules. Not blowing smoke in someones face is the price we pay for such wonderful friends and neighbors.
The Feds have new restrictions on small particulates in our air. Such particles have been found to cause serious cardiovascular and pulmonary problems in humans. They contribute to ailments the likes of bronchitis, asthma, coughing, and even premature death in people with heart and lung disease. In an effort to meet federal standards the Sac. Co. air quality control board decided to implement voluntary no burn alert at 25 micrograms per cubic meter of small particle pollution followed by a two stage mandatory no burn days if pollution levels worsen.
Fireplaces, wood stove and pellet stoves account for more or less, half the particulates in our winter air. Stage one restricts use of open fireplaces (indoor & outdoor) as well as non EPA approved wood stoves (those built before July 1, 1990) The estimate for such no burn days (between Nov. 1st and Feb. 28th of each year, starting this year) is about thirty days.
If pollution levels worsen no burn days will be issued for EPA approved woodstoves and pellet stoves as well. (stage two) The estimate of no burn days for approved wood stoves and pellet stoves is about 11 per year, (phase two). Advisories will be broadcast and posted in the paper and internet. More lee-way was given to approved wood stoves and pellet stoves because they burn cleaner than open fireplaces. Approved woodstoves average 18 times cleaner and pellet stoves average 48 times cleaner in regards to the small particulates (pm 2.5) which are being restricted.
Thru March 2008, based on limited funding, the air quality management district ( 874-7422) is offering incentives in the form of vouchers ranging from $250 to $500 towards purchase of cleaner burning wood, pellet & gas appliances to replace open fireplaces and old wood stoves. Some alternatives to open fireplaces include:
Gas Logs : Non restricted, almost zero particulates, some ambiance, not much heat, not cheap to run , adds to global warming.
Gas Fireplace Inserts & freestanding stoves: Similar to gas logs except that the heat is extracted from the fire and radiated or blown into your room. Excellent heat source. Price -$1500-$3000.
Pellet fireplace inserts and freestanding stoves: Burn pelletized saw dust and agricultural waste. Cleanest burning solid fuel appliance, smaller fire, good heat, require some routine & year end maintenance. Price $2,000 - $4,000.
EPA Phase II certified wood inserts and freestanding stoves: Not your granddaddy’s stove, designed to burn much cleaner and emit more heat. Still requires start-up, warm up, handling wood and ashes, plenty of heat but require attention. Price $1800 - $4000.
Electric Fireplaces: Cheaper, amazingly real fake fire. Produce heat, but at greater cost than natural gas. Pollute at power plant. Price $200-$800.
All these devices have windows for viewing the fire and offer various degrees of heat.
All of them provide some ambiance and more warmth to the bum and bones because unlike central heat, the heat source is sitting there in your living room. Cat and grandma can cozy up closer to the heat if need be. Heating bills are usually reduced because your heating where you hang out most not the entire house. More than half of the greenhouse gases we emit are produced at home. Using less energy cuts both bills and our carbon footprint, not a bad thing these days
If you need more info., or are considering a pellet or gas fireplace or freestanding stove, give me a call. Free in house consultation in our area
Thanks. Bruce Morse (916)446-5261 or (916)769-3003
Contractor #677888

Friday, November 09, 2007

I have sold over 2000 pellet stoves and serviced that many more over the last 19 years. I would like to hear your comments on what you feel is the best darn pellet stove out there. Pellet stove owners and Service guys lets hear you comments !
I can’t believe all of the poorly installed pellet stoves that I see. 80% of the stoves I am called out on to do a simple service call merit a proper reinstall! They are not sealed, with silicone and screws so they leak carbon dioxide and ash. Folks, don’t expect the so called professionals to do it right either. Most of the jobs I have seen have been put in by paid installers (definitely not professionals). A couple of easy questions you might ask the installer before you let him install you pellet stove insert:

Do you have high temperature silicone?
Do you have metal tape?
Do you have a drill a driver and screws?

If they answers no to any one of these send them packing! There are more questions to ask but this should eliminate the worst imposters.