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  • Allison Stalker

EPA Proposes New Air Standards for Woodstoves and Heaters

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

In early January, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed updates to air standards for woodstoves and heaters. The EPA states that these changes will make residential wood heaters significantly cleaner than the current standards require and establish new standards for other new wood heaters. These New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) will most likely begin in 2015, with the issuance of the final rule.

The proposed standards for manufacturers would cover various types of wood-fired heaters including woodstoves, fireplace inserts, indoor and outdoor wood boilers (hydronic heaters), forced air furnaces and masonry heaters. The standards will not cover fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, barbecues and chimneys.

Smoke from these types of wood heaters can increase toxic air pollution, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and soot, also known as particle pollution, to levels that pose serious health concerns. Particle pollution has been linked to a number of health concerns, including heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks. In some areas of the country, residential wood smoke is responsible for a significant portion of the total particle pollution. These new standards will help to curb this issue.

The EPA is proposing to phase in the emission limits over a five year period, to allow manufacturers the time to adapt to the new limits and to new emission control technologies.

The EPA has estimated that the new standards would reduce particle pollution emissions by 80% when compared to operation without the standards. They also project “that VOC emissions from future new heaters would be 76 percent lower as a result of the rule; and carbon monoxide emissions would be 72 percent lower compared to current requirements”.

The EPA is holding a public hearing on the proposal on February 26th, 2014 in Boston.

Comments will be taken for 90 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

For more information on the proposal, click here.

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