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Misleading, false or illegal advertisements of wood heaters since 2010

Wood and pellet stoves and boilers can be excellent ways to heat a room or home while reducing the use of fossil fuels and saving money. But like with all consumer products, manufacturers sometimes go overboard.

The Alliance for Green Heat began to publicize instances of misleading advertising in 2010 with the encouragement of companies that were playing by the rules. Our motivation was to warn consumers about murky trends in advertisements to help them make informed purchasing decisions.

The EPA lacks the resources and leadership to follow-up on scores of misleading, false or illegal advertising of wood heaters, enabling scores of companies to often violate regulations with relatively impunity.

The regulations covering wood heaters are the “Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Residential Hydronic Heaters and Forced-Air Furnaces” enacted in March 2015. It clearly states that “no person is permitted to advertise for sale, offer for sale, sell” wood heaters that do not have an EPA certification label. It also says that coal and corn stoves, for example, are exempt from certification “provided that all advertising and warranties exclude wood burning.” Thus, appliances that advertise that they can be used with wood and coal are not exempt, as they include mentions of wood as a fuel.

These regulations cover residential appliances but not appliances only advertised, sold and installed in commercial buildings.

The following screenshots of advertisements and websites appeared in our monthly newsletter and often by shining sunlight on these issues, we have helped to clear them up. Before publishing ads that we consider misleading, exaggerated or illegal, we almost always contact the company to get their side of the story. Frequently, that has led to the company pulling that ad, in which case they will not be featured here. But too often, these companies do not reply or reply but are not willing to change their ad.

We have provided an updated “Status” to report on whether the ad, website or practice has changed since we first published it, and why.

The majority of the misleading or illegal advertisements that we highlight are either about uncertified outdoor boilers or heaters made by US Stove, one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of stoves in the US. One of their staff finally had enough and “blew the whistle” on his own company and is now being sued by them. His exposure to liability is even greater because of inaction by the EPA, who could help substantiate the claims of the whistleblower.

More relevant information can be found on the Consumer Resources page of our website. Safety recalls of wood and pellet stoves can be found here.

Nov. 2021

Consumers deserve a level of honesty from stove manufacturers. US Stove, who owns Ashley and Vogelzang, fall far short when it comes to advising which of their stoves are eligible for the 75% or greater tax credit. This eligibility certificate signed under penalty of perjury by John Vorhees, is next to the EPA approved efficiencies listing. It shows that they are claiming a stove that is 64% efficient as qualified. AGH contacted US Stove and received a reply but has not received permission to publicly quote them.

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October 2021 – Hyprotherm Boiler

Status: Hyprotherm continues to manufacturer and distribute

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August 2021 – EZ Boilers

Status: EZ Boiler was contacted by a Michigan Consumer Protection officer but they did nothing more. EZ boiler continues to manufacturer and distribute

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June 2021 – US Stove Company

Status: As of November 2021, AGH cannot find any new, non-compliant boilers selling second hand near the US Stove factory.

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May 2021 – Augusta Free Press

Status: no change

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April 2021 – HVACDirect

Status: As the headline indicates, AGH pressure led to the company to stop selling these non-compliant boilers. We do not know if the manufacturer agreed to take them back and is still selling them through other outlets.

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March 2021 – HVACDirect

Status: see above.

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September 2020 – Outdoor Boiler (error message)

Status: The company no longer advertises non-compliant boilers and we hope that they are not selling them “out the back door.”

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July 2020 – Top 10 Stove Lists

Status: This type of advertising remains very common.

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May 2020 – Outdoor Boiler

Status: No change. This messaging is still on their site.

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June 2019 – US Stove

Status: Little change. Some advertisements continue to advertise wood and coal. This one from HVAC.com says it “can be set to burn various types of fuels” and max log length is 23 inches. US Stove has a long history of not updating their ads for their retailers even though AGH has found it relatively easy to request retailers update their language.

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May 2019 – EPA BurnWise

Status: This page has now been updated and as of June 2019, gives a fair portrayal of hydronic heaters.

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January 2019 – Acme Furnace Company

Status: No change. Acme continues to manufacturer and distribute non-compliant boilers.

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December 2018 – EPA on hydronic heaters

Status: Changed and corrected.

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September 2018 – Vogelzang TR007

Status: The Ponderosa was discontinued. The largest Vogelzang currently puts out 60,065 BTUs according to the EPA database, which is based on third party testing. Vogelzang advertisements to consumers say it produces 112,800 BTUs, nearly twice its official listing.

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May 2018 – HiFlame, US Stove, Messick

Hi Flame Status: We cannot fine Hi Flame stoves on the US market any more.
US Stove Status: Major outlets appear to only advertise coal, but smaller outlets still advertise if as a wood or coal stove.
Messick Status: No change in their website content for their DS coal stoves that the advertise can also use wood, despite a visit by Raphael Sanchez to their retail store.

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January 2018 – St. Croix

Status: The 83% efficiency claim has been removed from the website but it’s unclear if the company claims the stoves are still eligible for the tax credit for stoves 75% efficiency or greater.

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October 2017 – US Stove

Status, Nov. 21: This unit is still available for sale at some online retailers.

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September 2017 – GranView Fireplace

Status, Nov. 2021: Website changed

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August 2017 – Warren Walborn, CEO of Outdoor Boiler Care

Status, Nov. 2021: No change.

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June 2017 – England’s Stove Works, Vogelzang, US Stove

Status, Nov. 2021: Few uncertified furnaces are currently available from internet retailers that we can find other than a few US Stove units.

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February 2017 – SBI and Englander

Status, Nov. 2021: We are not aware of these tags in use anymore.

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December 2016 – US Stove, Vogelzang

Status, Nov. 2021: See update above.

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November 2016 – US Stove
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October 2016 – Hearth & Home Technologies, Pel Pro
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September 2016 – US Stove
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June 2016 – US Stove
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May 2016 – US Stove
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March 2016 – Rural King (page no longer exists), US Stove, PelPro (PP130, PP60)
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March 2016 – Rural King (page no longer exists), US Stove, PelPro (PP130, PP60)
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February 2016 – Toolfetch, Tractor Supply, AC Wholesalers, woodstovepro.com, wayfair.com
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January 2016 – Enviro
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May 2015 – Harman, Hearth & Home Technologies
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April 2015 – Quadra-Fire (error message)
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March 2015 – Vogelzang Mountaineer
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August 2014 – Hampshire Furnace

Status, Nov. 2021: Similar uncertified units are still for sale but Hampshire appears to have gone out of business.

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July 2014 – Montana Stove (error message)
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June 2014 – Rural King (error message)
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March 2014 – Vogelzang
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February 2013 – Mother Earth News
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November 2012 – Consumer Reports (error message)
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October 2012 – Vogelzang, Napoleon Stoves
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June 2012 – Vogelzang, US Stove
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March 2012 – Heat Surge
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May 2011 – AARP magazine, Pepco, Mother Earth News
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January 2010 – Heat Surge “Miracle Heater”
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October 2009 - Mother Earth News
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