Ordinances and Regulations for Wood-Burning Appliances
This page provides examples of existing ordinances and regulations that organizations such as state, local or tribal governments can use as templates or reference points for creating their own actions.
If you are looking for guidance on smoke issues in your neighborhood, see EPA's frequently asked question, Smoke from my neighbor is impacting my air quality and health, what can I do?
- New Source Performance Standards for Residential Wood Heaters
- Environmental Law Institute's 2021 summary report
- Examples of State Actions - Laws, Fees and Taxes
- Model Rule for Hydronic Heaters
- Examples of Community Action - Laws and Ordinances
- Previously Qualified Hydronic Heaters in Voluntary Program (program terminated in 2015)
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.
New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Residential Wood Heaters
These EPA standards govern the manufacture and sale of wood stoves, and certain wood burning fireplace inserts, built after 1988.
EPA’s Regulatory Actions for Residential Wood Heaters: EPA's New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for residential wood heaters fall under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The standards govern the manufacture and sale of new residential wood heating devices and do not apply to existing wood heating devices that are currently in use by homeowners.
Indoor Wood Burning: Policies to Reduce Emissions and Improve Public Health (April 2021): This report describes existing policies that employ a range of strategies to advance two complementary goals: changing how and when wood is burned in homes; and replacing existing wood-burning devices with lower-emitting alternatives.
Examples of State Action - Laws, Fees and Taxes
Note that this is not a comprehensive list of State actions -- it is meant to provide examples. If you need information about State requirements, contact your State air agency.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment posts wood-burning advisories 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.
Colorado has a regulation that applies to the sale and installation of wood-burning appliances and the use of certain wood-burning appliances during high pollution days. This and other air quality regulations are on their Air Quality Control Commission regulations website.
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 to replace old, uncertified wood stoves.
Burning restrictions are contained in the Rules for the Control of Air Pollution in Idaho and are applicable statewide.
Michigan has a Woodburning & Air Quality webpage that includes wood burning tips, outdoor wood boiler fact sheets and data, health and safety information and links to Michigan's Model Ordinance for Outdoor and Open Burning. The model ordinance includes language for restrictions or bans on outdoor wood-fired boilers and patio wood-burning units.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has authority to operate and enforce a program to curtail residential solid fuel heating during periods of air stagnation. Sale and installation of uncertified wood stoves are prohibited. When a house is sold, all used, uncertified solid fuel burning devices, other than cookstoves, in or on the property must be removed and destroyed. DEQ's Heat Smart Program is available for those buying or selling woodstoves. Solid fuel burning devices used in Oregon must meet emission performance standards established under ORS 468A.465 (Certification requirements for new solid fuel burning devices) and by ensuring compliance with ORS 468A.460 (Policy) to 468A.515 (Residential solid fuel heating curtailment program requirements).
The Washington Department of Ecology provides information about burn bans, which wood burning devices are legal in Washington, why wood smoke is harmful to health, and how to reduce the smoke from your wood burning device. They have established wood stove emission performance standards. In addition, the state assesses a $30 fee on the sale of every wood-burning device to fund education and enforcement of wood burning device rules.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has an Outdoor Wood Boiler webpage that includes basic information on the device, health effects, complaint advice, and a Model Ordinance. The model ordinance is for municipalities to use for regulating outdoor burning, open burning and burning of refuse. The model ordinance includes language for restrictions or bans on outdoor wood-fired boilers.
Vermont has a webpage on Special Considerations for Outdoor Hydronic Heaters.
Model Rule for Hydronic Heaters
NESCAUM (Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management) has a model rule for outdoor hydronic heaters to promote common regulatory standards across state and local areas.
Examples of Community and Local Agency 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 air quality alert on the days when restrictions apply.
Note that this is not a comprehensive list of community actions -- it is meant to provide examples. If you need information about whether there are requirements in your community, contact your local health department or air quality agency.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District (San Francisco), CA - When the district issues a “Winter Spare the Air Alert,” it is illegal to burn wood. Effective November 1, 2016, new building construction may no longer include the installation of wood-burning devices, including fireplaces, EPA certified wood stoves or inserts, or pellet-fueled devices.
Bay Area (San Francisco), CA - Model ordinance with a number of options more stringent than the Bay Area AQMD- wide rule.
Bernalillo County (Albuquerque), NM - 20.11.22 New Mexico Administrative Code – Woodburning
Chico, CA – A local ordinance includes a mandatory curtailment as part of the Chico municipal code Title 8, Chapter 8.32; it is voluntary in the rest of the county.
Denver and North Front Range - Mandatory bans on "action" days during the annual high air pollution season, with some exceptions.
Lagrande, OR - Voluntary curtailment of wood stove use for heat based on daily advisories.
Laguna Beach CA, city ordinances - Any “major remodel” to a single-family residence requires retrofit of existing wood-burning fireplaces 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.
Missoula County, MT - When property changes ownership inside the Air Stagnation Zone, older stoves must be removed and a certificate of compliance form must be filed at the Clerk &Recorder's Office in the Courthouse. Visit the Woodstove Removal Program webpage for more information. There is also a Woodstoves in Missoula County webpage with additional information.
Puget Sound, WA (Kitsap, King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties) - Air-quality burn bans temporarily restrict some or all indoor and outdoor burning, usually called when weather conditions are cold and still. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency uses current and forecasted conditions to decide when a burn ban is needed.
Puget Sound agency regulations specify limits on visibility and opacity, making it illegal to “smoke out” neighbors.
San Joaquin Valley APCD, CA - Rule 4901 - 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. Wood-burning curtailment is required on days when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels (Level 1 & 2).
San Francisco Bay Area - Winter Spare the Air Alerts can be called between November 1 and the last day of February. On a Winter Spare the Air day, the Air District's wood-burning regulation makes it illegal indoors and outdoors throughout the Bay Area to burn wood, fire logs, pellets, or other solid fuels in a fireplace, woodstove, outdoor fire pit, or other wood-burning device. This regulation applies to both households and businesses like hotels and restaurants. In addition, the Bay Area's Wood Burning Rule includes provisions such as prohibiting wood-burning devices in new buildings and a year-round prohibition on excessive chimney smoke. Smoke is in violation when it obscures objects viewed through it by more than 20 percent. A violation can result in a fine.
Southwest Clean Air Agency, WA (Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties) - During periods of stagnant air or temperature inversions, the SWCAA may issue burn bans. A Stage 1 Burn Ban prohibits the use of all fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves and inserts. Uncertified units are typically older than 1990 and lack a certification label on the back of the unit. All outdoor burning is also prohibited. A Stage 2 Burn Ban prohibits all wood heating, including certified units. All outdoor burning is also prohibited.
Yolo-Solano AQMD has initiated "Don't Light Tonight," a voluntary program that encourages 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.
EPA Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 271 Native Tribes) - The Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR) apply within exterior boundaries of 39 Indian Reservations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington to ensure that reservation residents have air-quality protection similar to that outside reservations. During an air stagnation advisory or alert, EPA R10 will request air-pollution sources to take voluntary actions to reduce their emissions. People should not use wood stoves or fireplaces unless they provide their only source of heat. Except for cultural and traditional fires, open burning is banned during an air stagnation advisory, alert, warning, or emergency.