South Tahoe Wood Stove Regulations

By
Real Estate Sales Representative with Chase International South Tahoe Realty

When purchasing a property in South Lake Tahoe there are some regulations that you are going to want to know about. One of these regulations is the Tahoe Regional Planning Agencies "Wood Heater Retrofit Program". The TRPA requires that if there is a wood burning stove in a property, it must be certified by the EPA. An EPA certified wood stove has been independently tested by an accredited laboratory to meet a particulate emissions limit of 7.5* grams per hour for noncatalytic wood stoves and 4.1* grams per hour for catalytic wood stoves.  Click on the following link for the List of EPA certified Wood Stoves

 If there is a wood stove in the property that is not approved by the EPA then it must be removed prior to the close of escrow. South Y Fireplace  has a wide selection of both TRPA approved wood burning and gas stoves to replace a non-compliant stove. South Y Fireplace has TRPA approved wood stoves starting at $1200.

Existing open burning fireplaces are legal if they are not used as the primary heat source.

Below is the TRPA's Chapter 91.3B regarding Wood Heaters and Air Quality Control.

 Wood Heaters:

 The sale of wood heaters which do not meet the emission standards of this subsection is prohibited in the Tahoe Region. Wood heaters to be installed, in the Region, either as new or replacement units, shall meet the requirements of this subsection. Coal shall not be used as a fuel source.

(1) Emission Standards: Wood heaters installed in the Region shall meet the following emission standards for total suspended particulates of smoke emissions:

(a) Catalytic wood heaters shall not cause emissions of greater than 5.5 grams per hour. Following July 1, 1990, catalytic wood heaters shall not cause emissions of more than 4.1 grams per hour.

(b) Non-catalytic wood heaters shall not cause emissions of greater than 9.0 grams per hour. Following July 1, 1990, non-catalytic wood heaters shall not cause emissions of more than 7.5 grams per hour.

TRPA Code of Ordinances

CHAPTER 91 - AIR QUALITY CONTROL 91-3

(c) Wood heaters certified to meet the above standards by the U.S. EPA under 40 CFR Part 60 or the Oregon Wood Stove Certification Program, shall be deemed in compliance with the above standards. Pellet fueled wood heaters labeled as exempt from 40 CFR Part 60 shall be deemed in compliance with the above standards.

(2) Limitations: Wood heaters shall be sized appropriately for the space they are designed to serve. Multi-residential projects of five or more units, tourist accommodations, commercial, recreation and public service projects shall be limited to one wood heater per project area.

(3) Wood Heater Retrofit Program: Effective January 1, 1993, prior to any sale, transfer or conveyance of any building, all existing wood heaters in the building, excluding legally existing open fireplaces which are not primary heat sources, shall be in conformance with the emission standards contained in subsection 91.3.B.

(a) Compliance with this section shall be evidenced by a statement of the seller made under penalty of perjury, on a form provided by TRPA, that all existing wood heaters in the building, excluding legally existing open fireplaces which are not primary heat sources, either conform to the emission standards in subsection 91.3.B or have been replaced with conforming units, or that the structure does not contain any existing wood heaters. The statement shall be submitted to TRPA prior to the sale, transfer or conveyance.

(b) A statement of wood heater conformance shall be required for any subsequent sales, transfers or conveyances. The TRPA requires that prior to the sale, transfer, or convayence of a building, the seller must fill out a Wood Heater Statement of Compliance form.

 Wood Heater Statement of Compliance

Wood stoves and fireplaces are of particular concern in Lake Tahoe, due to wintertime inversion layers that prevent the smoke from leaving the Basin. These inversion layers trap smoke close to the ground resulting in elevated pollution levels, poor visibility and even contribute to the decline in lake clarity.

Although the smoke from one wood stove or fireplace may seem minor, added together these stoves and fireplaces discharge tons of dangerous particulate matter, carbon monoxide and a family of cancer-causing chemicals known as polycyclic organic matter to the air each year.

For this reason, the TRPA enacted a "Wood Heater Retrofit Program." This program is similar to those adopted by agencies in such cities as Mammoth Lakes, Telluride, Aspen, Reno, as well as many others across the United States. The TRPA's program has been in effect since January 1, 1993, and is designed to reduce the amount of smoke and other harmful emissions from older, less efficient wood stoves and fireplaces. The program requires that all existing wood heaters, excluding legally existing open fireplaces, comply with emission standards prior to any sale, transfer, or conveyance of any building. These standards can be found in subsection 91.3.B of the TRPA Code of Ordinances.

Compliance with the program must be evidenced by a statement from the seller made under penalty of perjury. This statement will be made on a form provided by the TRPA. No other forms will be accepted. This form will require the property owner to state either that: (1) the structure does not contain any existing wood heaters or: (2) that all existing wood heaters in the building, excluding legally existing open fireplaces that are not primary heat sources, conform to the applicable emission standards. The statement shall be submitted to TRPA prior to the sale, transfer, or conveyance of any building and a copy provided to the new owner no later than at close of escrow. This statement is required for all subsequent sales, transfers, or conveyance of the property.

The TRPA's wood stove retrofit forms can be obtained at our office located on 128 Market Street, Stateline, Nevada. For more information on TRPA's Wood Heater Retrofit Program, please contact TRPA at (775) 588-4547.

When you are looking at homes in South Tahoe, please make sure to ask if the existing wood stove is approved by the TRPA. You will want to know all of the expenses that will involved with purchasing a property in South Lake Tahoe!

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