Older Second hand stoves are easy to find on places like Craigslist but are usually not a good long-term investment. Unless you are an expert, it can be hard to tell how safe a second-hand stove is. Many are very overpriced compared new stoves or have been outlived their useful life. Also, it can be hard to get secondhand stoves permitted, professionally installed and covered by your insurance company. Check here for more on these crucial issues.
Here are some tips for buying a second-hand stove. To make sure that youíre buying an EPA-certified stoves, check to see if the stove has an EPA permanent label on the back, showing that it was manufactured after 1990 and is EPA-certified. New, certified stoves can be bought at big-box stores from $650 - $1,200 or from a specialty hearth retailer and are almost always a better bet than second-hand stoves that usually sell in the $350 - $850 range. Their higher efficiencies will save you lots of time and money. Even old stoves that appear to be in decent shape, like the ones on the right, may be fire hazards. (Note: Uncertified, secondhand stoves are not allowed to be sold or installed in Washington or Oregon and in some local jurisdictions.)
Low efficiency stoves: We advise consumers to look for stoves that are at least 70% efficiency. Efficiencies on pellet stoves are even more important. Donít make the mistake of being one of those ill-informed consumers that buys a very low efficiency without even knowing it. Currently, the least efficient stove on the market is the 6041, 6041I, SP6000 models made by US Stove at 56%. The lowest efficiency boiler/furnace is Fire Chief Industries/Shelter Furnace/HY-C Company at 52%. Check the EPA database for efficiency numbers.
Down-draft stoves: We donít know of any true downdraft stoves on the market anymore, other than the secondhand market. Here is why you should beware.
Fireplace inserts: If you want to heat a room or home, make sure to buy a certified stove or stove insert Ė not a fireplace insert. Fireplace inserts do not have to be certified and cannot advertise themselves as heaters. If you find this confusing, donít worry, everyone else does too.
Outdoor wood boilers (OWB - also known as hydronic heaters) have the potential to be very polluting although new ones have made great strides. A good general rule is to have your heater in the space that you are heating, or right below it, regardless of the fuel being used. Some towns and counties ban them, and others have strict property line setbacks, so make sure to check for local restrictions.