There are roughly 12 million wood stoves in American homes at present, and the majority aren’t EPA-certified. As older models stop working, those looking to replace them will have to buy stoves that comply with new EPA rules. The agency says newer stoves are more efficient, use less wood, and are healthier, reducing the pollutants released both inside and outside.
Fireplace and stove maker Quadra-Fire is on board with the rules, and it wants to make its products even more efficient by pairing a wood stove with a thermostat to help control the heat output. The Adventure Series comes with a programmable wall thermostat that allows users to set four different schedules, so they can put in different temperature preferences based on whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, day or night.
The stove uses what the company calls “smart burn technology” to control how much heat the stove is putting out, based on the temperature users set. Because the thermostat is smart enough to operate the air controls and blower, it can adjust to match the thermostat’s temperature within a few degrees. Thermocouples inside the firebox provide feedback on the temperature, and an “activation button” lets homeowners know when it’s time to add more wood by turning red. The idea is that those who use wood stoves to heat their homes won’t have to guess about the best time to add fuel to the fire. This could lead to as much as a 50 percent reduction in heating costs, according to Quadra-Fire.
It’s not quite a smart thermostat in the Nest sense — you won’t be getting alerts to add wood on your smartphone, and it will never be fully automated. But it’s an interesting, modern take on one of the oldest ways to heat homes.