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Maryland Wood Stove Grant Program Q & A

This Q & A was written by the Alliance for Green Heat, an independent nonprofit wood heat organization, to assist Marylanders seeking grants from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA)'s Clean Burning Wood Stove Grant Program. However, the MEA is the final arbiter of any questions or issues, not us. The info here is meant to supplement and expand on info provided by the MEA. Refer to the MEA program website and call 410-260-2606 or email cegp@energy.state.md.us for official information and assistance.

Question Categories:
General
Requirements
Installation
Application

General Questions

Q: How much is the grant for wood and pellet stoves?
A: Grants are flat awards of $500 for wood stoves and $700 for pellet stoves.

Q: Am I guaranteed a grant if I purchase a wood or pellet stove?
A: If you follow the directions and meet the requirements, you will get the grant. Initially the program had limited funds but now Maryland has indefinitely extended the program and grants are provided just like the residential solar and geothermal grants.

Q: I bought/installed a wood or pellet stove before the grant was announced, am I still eligible for a rebate?
A: No. Stoves must be purchased after September 7, 2012 to qualify for the grant.

Q: Why do pellet stoves receive a larger rebate than wood stoves?
A: Pellet stoves tend to cost more than wood stoves, although they are usually less expensive to install. Since they are the cleaner option, many programs around the country try to steer more people to pellet stoves with a larger rebate.

Q. If my primary heat already comes from wood or pellets, am I eligible?
A. If your primary heat is biomass, you are eligible to get the rebate for a wood or pellet stoves if 1. you are replacing an old, uncertified wood stove (made pre 1990) and 2. your back up or secondary heat is oil, propane or electricity.

Requirements

Q: What stoves are eligible for the grant?
A: Only EPA certified wood stoves that emit less than 3 grams an hour of particulate emissions and pellet stoves that emit less than 2 grams an hour are eligible.

Q: Do both wood stoves and pellet stoves need to be EPA certified?
A: No, only wood stoves need to be EPA certified. Many pellet stove manufacturers opt out of certification however, they need to be third party tested for particulate emissions and listed with Washington State to be eligible for this grant. EPA certified pellet stoves tend to be higher efficiency and will likely save you more money.

Q: Why are wood stoves limited to 3 grams and pellet stoves 2 grams?
A: The program seeks to incentivize only the cleanest stoves. This provision was included in the bill introduced in the Maryland legislature in 2011 by Delegate Heather Mizeur and had the support of almost all stakeholders. The EPA certifies wood stoves that emit up to 7.5 grams of particulate emissions an hour. About 40% of stoves on the market emit 3 grams per hour or less.

Q: Are there wood stoves on the market that emit less than 3 grams an hour but are not on the EPA list?
A: There can be a lag time between when the EPA certifies a stove and when it appears on their list, but there is a 99% chance that any EPA certified wood stove you find on the market will be on the EPA list.

Q: Do the cleaner wood stoves that emit no more than 3 grams an hour (2 for pellet stoves) cost more than stoves that have higher particulate emissions?
A: Not necessarily. The cost of stoves that emit no more than 3 grams an hour ranges from the high end ones that cost more than $3,000 to the value stoves that cost less than $2,000. The majority of pellet stoves emit no more than 2 grams and many cost less than stove over 2 grams.

Q: How can I make sure I am buying a high efficiency stove?
A: Unfortunately, the efficiency listings used by many stove manufacturers are not uniform and there are many ways for companies to make their efficiency look better than it actually is. If you really want a high efficiency wood stove, a catalytic stove is the way to go. The efficiency numbers used on the EPA's stove list are only estimated, default numbers. If you want a high efficiency pellet stove, choose an EPA certified model or a European stove. European pellet stoves such as Ecoteck, Rika and MCZ are usually among the most efficient. US companies that report actual efficiencies include Enviro, St. Croix, Thelin, Timberwolf and Whitfield. Usually, companies report in what is called "lower heating value" or LHV. LHV numbers in the 80s are good. Beware, some pellet stoves are less than 50% efficient! For more info, click here.

Q: Why is the program limited to houses that heat with electric, oil and propane heating systems?
A: This requirement has two distinct rationales. First, the program seeks to help families who heat with the most expensive and the most carbon intensive heating fuels. Second, these homes tend to be in rural areas where the particulate emissions from wood stoves are not as much of a concern. Even the cleanest wood stoves can be polluting if they are loaded with wet wood and not given enough air.

Q: Do I have to purchase my stove from a Maryland store?
A: No, it can be purchased from any store or online. But it must be installed in a Maryland residence; it cannot be installed out of state.

Q. Are corn or multifuel stoves that can use both pellets and corn eligible?
A. Yes.

Installation

Q: Can I install the stove myself and still receive the grant?
The MEA encourages, but does not require, professional installation if your installation has been inspected by a county inspector or insurance adjustor. Your application needs to include written proof that the installation was inspected and approved after installation by a county inspector or insurance adjustor if its not professionally installed.

Q: How do I find an NFI certified technician and why is it better than a regular contractor?
A: National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certified installers specialize in wood and pellet stove installation and have passed the certification exam. Most contractors do not have experience installing stoves and may not have ever installed one before. An NFI certified technician will be familiar with all the issues that may come up and how to solve them and is your best assurance that the installation will meet the manufacturers specifications and local code requirements. You can find an NFI technician here.

Q: If I can't find a NFI certified technician in my area, how can I select a contractor?
A: The next best thing to NFI certification is certification by the Chimney Sweep Institute of America. They also have expertise in wood and pellet stoves and particularly in chimneys.

Q: Can I purchase the stove in Maryland but install it in a neighboring state and still get the rebate or install it in my vacation home?
A: No. The technology must be installed in a primary Maryland residence.

Application

Q: Why am I asked to write the BTUs per hour of my stove in the System Information section on page 2? Where do I find this information?
A: The application asks that you put down the BTUs per hour so MEA can better estimate the amount of renewable energy being produced, and whether the stove is likely being purchased as a whole house heater. BTUs can be found on the EPA list for wood stoves, and provided by the retailer or found in the company's website for pellet stoves.

Q: What should be included in the Cost of System in the System Information section on page 2?
A: We believe this includes only the cost of the stove, stove pipe and other equipment and not the cost of the installation.

 
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