WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing standards for the amount of air pollution that can be emitted by new wood-fired heaters, beginning in 2015. EPA said its proposal would make the next generation of heaters an estimated 80 percent cleaner than those manufactured today. The proposal would affect a variety of wood heaters manufactured beginning in 2015 and will not affect heaters already in use in homes or currently for sale today.

EPA said smoke from residential wood heaters, which are used around the clock in some communities, can increase toxic air pollution, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and soot, also known as particle pollution, to levels that pose serious health concerns. In some areas, residential wood smoke makes up a significant portion of the fine particle pollution problem. EPA’s proposal would work in concert with state and local programs to improve air quality in these communities.

EPA’s proposal covers several types of new wood-fired heaters, including: woodstoves, fireplace inserts, indoor and outdoor wood boilers (also called hydronic heaters), forced air furnaces, and masonry heaters. The agency said many residential wood heaters already meet the first set of proposed standards, which would be phased in over five years to allow manufacturers time to adapt emission control technologies to their particular model lines. The proposal does not cover fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, barbecues, and chimineas.

EPA will take comments on the proposal for 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold a public hearing Feb. 26, 2014 in Boston. EPA expects to issue a final rule in 2015.

For more information, visit www2.epa.gov/residential-wood-heaters.

Publication date: 1/13/2014

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