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July/August 2010

Wood Heaters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently revising its New Source Performance Standard for Wood Heaters. Every indication is that a proposed ASTM International standard on particulate matter emissions that is being developed by Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings will be included in the revised NSPS.

WK27994, Test Method for Determining Particulate Matter Emissions from Wood Heaters, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E06.54 on Solid Fuel Burning Appliances.

While there are EPA test methods embedded in the current NSPS, they have not been revised in the last 20 years because doing so would have involved reopening the entire rule to revision, which is a complex process. Now that the EPA is revising the NSPS, the time is right.

“With a revised NSPS on the horizon, and the willingness of EPA technical staff to work to develop improved, consensus-based test methods for use going forward, it simply made sense to develop improved methods, and ASTM was the perfect venue,” says Robert Ferguson, president, Ferguson, Andors and Co., and an E06 member.

According to Ferguson, WK27994 prescribes a fueling and operating protocol for use when measuring particulate emissions from wood heaters in conjunction with E2515, Test Method for Determination of Particulate Matter Emissions Collected by a Dilution Tunnel.

“This is a laboratory-based procedure that specifies the fuel type, configuration, moisture content range and other parameters needed to standardize testing with wood,” says Ferguson, who notes that users, primarily wood heater manufacturers and third party test laboratories, should find WK27994 easy to use, once it has been approved.

Ferguson encourages all those interested to participate in E06.54. “We are always looking for participation from any interested parties and have a high level of participation to date from a variety of parties, including users and regulators among them,” says Ferguson. The task group developing WK27994 is also developing WK27738, Test Method for Determining Particulate Matter Emissions from Pellet Heaters. The task group meets monthly via teleconference and face-to-face during committee weeks.


Technical Information: Robert Ferguson, Ferguson, Andors and Co., South Royalton, Vt.

Phone: 802-763-2339

ASTM Staff: Stephen Mawn