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EPA's New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Residential Wood Heaters

EPA Proposes Updates to Air Standards for Newly Manufactured Wood Stoves and Heaters. Go to www2.epa.gov/residential-wood-heaters to learn more.

EPA standards that govern the manufacture and sale of wood stoves, and certain wood burning fireplace inserts, built after 1988.

On January 3, 2014, EPA proposed revisions to the residential wood heater new source performance standards (NSPS) under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The draft revisions apply to new heaters ONLY and do not apply to existing wood stoves and other wood heaters installed in peoples’ homes. Go to www2.epa.gov/residential-wood-heaters  to review and comment on the proposed revisions before final standards are issued. EPA will accept written comments for 90 days after publication of the proposal in the Federal Register.

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Community Action - Laws and Ordinances

Certain jurisdictions have established legal requirements to reduce wood smoke. For example, some communities have restrictions on installing wood-burning appliances in new construction. The most common and least restrictive action is to limit use at those times when air quality is threatened. The appropriate agency issues an alert, similar to the widespread Ozone Action Day alerts.

Go to Regulations.gov to search for EPA regulations and related documents.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District Exit EPA disclaimer
Bans during “Spare the Air Tonight” advisories. Proposed new requirements for new construction (only pellet stoves, gas stoves, and EPA-certified wood stoves can be sold). Labeling required for firewood, firelogs, and wood pellets sold.

Bernalillo County (Albuquerque), NM Exit EPA disclaimer
Winter Advisory/No Burn Program from October through February restricting use of non-EPA certified fireplaces or stoves.

Denver and north Front Range Exit EPA disclaimer
Mandatory bans on "action" days during the annual high air pollution season, with some exceptions.

Lagrande, OR Exit EPA disclaimer
Voluntary curtailment of wood stove use for heat based on daily advisories.

Laguna Beach CA, city ordinances Exit EPA disclaimer
Any “major remodel” to a single-family residence requires retrofit of any existing wood-burning fireplace to comply with U.S. EPA Phase II emission limits by using a qualified retrofit insert, converting the existing wood-burning fireplace to gas-only use or other approved device.

Puget Sound, WA Exit EPA disclaimer
Air-quality burn bans temporarily restrict some or all indoor and outdoor burning, usually called when weather conditions are cold and still.

San Joaquin County, CA Exit EPA disclaimer
Existing wood stoves must be replaced with an EPA certified wood stove when a home is sold. Only pellet stoves, gas stoves, and EPA-certified wood stoves can be sold. Wood-burning limited on days when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels. Limits on the number of wood stoves or fireplaces that can be installed in new residential units.

Santa Clara County and The City of Palo Alto, CA Exit EPA disclaimer
Burn bans: Stage 1, use only certified stoves; Stage 2, use wood stove only if it's the primary heat source. Have banned the installation of new wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.

Yolo-Solano AQMD Exit EPA disclaimer has initiated "Don't Light Tonight" - a voluntary program to encourage residents not to use wood stoves and fireplaces when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels. The district also encourages cleaner burning techniques and switching to cleaner burning technology.

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State Action - Laws, Fees and Taxes

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment posts wood-burning advisories Exit EPA disclaimer on its website. During red advisories, mandatory residential burning restrictions generally apply to everyone in the 7-county Denver-Boulder metro area below 7,000 feet. There are exceptions for those who use Colorado Phase III (Phase II EPA) Exit EPA disclaimer certified wood-burning stoves, state-approved pellet stoves, approved masonry heaters or those whose stoves or fireplaces are their primary source of heat.

The state of Idaho offers taxpayers who buy new wood stoves, pellet stoves, or natural gas or propane heating units for their residences a tax deduction Exit EPA disclaimer to replace old, uncertified wood stoves.

Michigan's Model Ordinance for Outdoor and Open Burning (PDF) (21pp, 306K) - contains provisions and optional provisions that Michigan municipalities can "pick and choose" from

The state of Montana offers an Alternative Energy Systems Credit Exit EPA disclaimer against income tax liability for the cost of purchasing and installing an energy system in a Montana resident’s principal home that uses " . . . a low emission wood or biomass combustion device such as a pellet or wood stove."

Utah has a “Red Light, Green Light” program Exit EPA disclaimer to curtail wood-burning along the Wasatch Front during winter inversions. RED: No residential/commercial burning. The Division of Air Quality staff inspect the valleys for smoke coming from chimneys. The staff also investigate complaints made to the Division. Offenders are ticketed, and fines may be levied. First-time offenders face a fine of $25; second-time offenders pay $50 to $140; and third-time offenders face fines from $150 to $299. YELLOW: reduce burning; GREEN (clearing index high): burning allowed.

The state of Washington has established wood stove emission performance standards Exit EPA disclaimer that are more stringent than the federal rule. In addition, the state of Washington assesses a flat fee Exit EPA disclaimer on the sale of every wood-burning device to fund the education of citizens about wood smoke health and air quality impacts and the benefits of cleaner burning wood stoves.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Model OrdinanceExit EPA Disclaimer - contains suggestions and options for local governments to regulate open burning at the local level

Vermont has compiled a state listing of regulatory action Exit EPA Disclaimer for hydronic heaters.

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Model Rules and Codes

  • NESCAUM Model Rule - model rule that state and local agencies can use to regulate hydronic heater emissions
  • Examples of Outdoor Furnace Codes Exit EPA Disclaimer - provides samples of local codes for municipalities, including information like setback restrictions, stack locations, and restrictions on types of fuel

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Area Source Rule for Small Industrial, Commercial or Institutional Boilers

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