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Overview: Best Practice Local Ordinances Regarding Outdoor Wood Furnaces

Central Boiler supports strict and responsible regulations that prevent and/or correct outdoor wood furnace misuse to encourage cleaner burning wood furnaces and implementation of  Best Burn Practices. Based on experience in other communities that have implemented legislation regarding outdoor wood furnaces, the following requirements should be considered when drafting an ordinance:

When communities don't have complete and accurate information, they can conclude that an outdoor wood furnace ban is their only solution. When presented with all of the facts, municipalities most often recognize that outdoor wood furnaces, when used properly, provide a safe, cost-effective and environmentally responsible alternative for home heating. With this understanding, the most effective regulations deal with proper siting, chimney height and use of outdoor wood furnaces.
1. Consider developing a permitting process for new installations of outdoor wood burning furnaces.
2.   An outdoor wood furnace shall be laboratory tested and listed to appropriate safety standards such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), CAN/CSA (Canada National Standard/Canadian Standards Association), or ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards or other appropriate safety standards.
3.   Consider having an owner submit a site plan to show where the unit will be located on the property.
4.   Outdoor wood furnaces shall be installed, operated and maintained per the manufacturer's instructions.
5.   Only natural wood or the manufacturer's listed fuels may be burned in any outdoor wood burning furnace. Burning of any and all other materials is prohibited. Create a list of items that should never be burned such as: trash, plastics, gasoline, rubber, naphtha, household garbage, materials treated with petroleum products (particle board, railroad ties and pressure treated wood), leaves, paper products and cardboard.
6.  
Only natural wood or the manufacturer's listed fuels may be burned in any outdoor wood burning furnace. Burning of any and all other materials is prohibited. Create a list of items that should never be burned such as: trash, plastics, gasoline, rubber, naphtha, household garbage, materials treated with petroleum products (particle board, railroad ties and pressure treated wood), leaves, paper products and cardboard.
a. From the front lot line - no closer than the house.
b.   From the side and rear lot lines - 25 feet.
c.   From another residence not being served by the furnace on adjacent properties - 100 feet recommended in Best Burn Practices.
7.   If located within 300 feet of any residence not served by the furnace, it is recommended that the stack be at least 2 feet higher than the peak of the roof of that residence.
8.   A process for enforcement and appeals should be established.
 
 
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Regulations should not contain biased statements. Regulations should state fact, not opinion.
Regulations should be created taking into consideration that while outdoor wood furnaces are not currently regulated by EPA, EPA established test guidelines under Phase I of the EPA Outdoor Wood-fired Hydronic Heater Program for the outdoor furnace industry on January 29, 2007.
Ordinances similar to this Sample Best Practice Local Ordinance have been implemented in several communities throughout the United States.
For more information about how to establish outdoor furnace regulations, Contact Us at Outdoor Furnace Facts.

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