For release: July 28, 2010
Oregon “Heat Smart” Law Effective Aug. 1
Before you sell a home, you must remove old, polluting woodstoves and fireplace inserts that are not certified.
Oregon’s new woodstove law designed to protect homebuyers and clear the air of unnecessary wood smoke pollution takes effect on Aug. 1. The law requires the removal and decommissioning of any uncertified woodstove or fireplace insert from a home when it is sold.
The 2009 Oregon Legislature passed the law and Governor Kulongoski signed it.
Uncertified stoves and inserts were manufactured before 1986 when the State of Oregon passed a law requiring emissions certification to control smoke from these devices. Uncertified woodstoves produce approximately 70 percent more pollution and burn wood far less efficiently than today’s newer, cleaner certified woodstoves. Many of those old stoves may have been improperly installed, creating a potential fire hazard in the home.
“As home inspectors, these items - wood stoves and fireplace inserts - are already on our radar,” says Steve Blaha a certified home inspector in Portland who owns and operates HomeCheck Inspection Services and served on DEQ’s Heat Smart Advisory Committee.
“This rule gives home inspectors some pretty straight forward guidelines to use in the description of an important component of the home. We typically point out safety hazards to clients, along with visible structural and visible performance deficiencies anyway.
Several jurisdictions in Oregon have already adopted similar measures including Deschutes, Klamath and Jackson Counties, the cities of Bend, Medford, Ashland, Central Point, Eagle Point, Jacksonville, Talent, Phoenix and the Town of Lakeview. The City of Bend’s ordinance has been in place over 10 years.
Oregon is the first state to formally establish a woodstove change out requirement upon sale of a home. Back in the mid-1980s, Oregon was also the first state to adopt woodstove certification and emission limits. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later adopted and implemented this certification nationwide.
“Wintertime residential wood burning is a significant source of air pollution, including fine particles and air toxics,” says Rachel Sakata, project manager for DEQ’s Heat Smart program. “Removing uncertified woodstoves from service and replacing them with more efficient models would help Oregon’s efforts to restore and preserve healthy air and reduce heating costs.”
For more information about the requirements for uncertified woodstoves visit: www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/woodstoves/heatSmart.htm