Why are Wood-Burning Fireplaces Banned?

Do not jump to conclusions just yet. What you should know is that wood-burning fireplaces are not completely banned. This is just some misinterpretation of some of the laws that have come up recently on the use of wood-burning fireplaces and related devices. 

The EPA over the years has rolled out new regulations so that the manufacturers can conform to new standards. There was a time in 2014 when the EPA banned close to 80% of the wood-burning stoves in America. However, that has changed with time since now there are better wood-burning fireplaces. 

However, you should take note of the kind of impact such type of fireplace has on the environment. Without proper care, you might find the wood-burning fireplaces lead to more damage to the environment and your personal health too.

It must be why the EPA is always coming up with new regulatory actions to help people pick more efficient fireplaces rather than wood-burning fireplaces. Also, it regularly updates the rules and regulations around the manufacture and sale of wood stoves plus wood-burning fireplace inserts. 

Are Wood Burners Bad for Your Health?

One thing we cannot argue about is the kind of warmth you get with wood-burning fireplaces. They are always warmer and cozier than the other types of fireplaces. The flames are also real, unlike the electric fireplaces. This would make someone find such a feature a deal-breaker. 

Nevertheless, there are some health risks that might arise from using wood burners for a long time. 

The wood-burners are likely to lead to particle pollution in the room. An increase in pollution can increase the chances of visiting the emergency room, and sometimes death due to lung and heart diseases. 

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The short terms health effects of wood-burning fireplaces include;

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Worsened allergies
  • Coughing 
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Respiratory infections etc. 

We understand that wood-burning fireplaces are fun especially the warmth and the crackling sound of wood burning, but always follow the rules for wood-burning fireplaces. It can be something you use only a few times a year and you also have installed better wood-burning fireplace inserts based on the state regulations. 

Wood Burning Stove/Fireplace Regulations 2020/2021

As much as the EPA might have rules on how the wood-burning stoves should be made, the states will also have additional laws for their respective population. Below are some examples you can find for various states in the U.S.

  • Colorado 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has over time issued red advisories on the use of wood-burning appliances. 

One of the things the department focuses on is the sale and installation of these appliances. The aim is to ensure they conform to the air quality control regulations

  • Idaho 

The state of Idaho has taken a different approach. This is because it offers its taxpayers tax deductions if they get to replace the old and uncertified wood stoves with the new pellet stoves, wood stoves, wood fireplaces, and propane heating units. 

The state also has burning restrictions that the residents must follow. These restrictions apply statewide. 

  • Michigan 

As for Michigan, you will find it has a wood-burning and air quality webpage on its state website. It gives the residents more information on wood-burning tips, health, and safety information on using such appliances, and so much more. 

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It is still on the page that you can get more information on the ban of different wood-burning appliances including the outdoor wood-fired boilers plus patio wood-burning units. 

  • Montana 

The State of Montan decided to reward an income tax credit of $500 for those who install a nonfossil form of appliances in their homes. The same applies to low emission wood or devices that use biomass. However, we recommend checking out the official website for more details and how it may apply. 

So far you can see that different states may have different ideas on how better to use wood-burning fireplaces and other related appliances. 

Where are Wood-Burning Fireplaces Banned?

Right now, only those wood-burning fireplaces that do not conform to the EPA regulations on wood-burning appliances are the ones that are banned. As for specific locations, each state can have categories of brands or products that have been banned for violating the rules or are not efficient enough. 

Is Wood Smoke Worse than Cigarette Smoke?

People do not know this, but wood smoke is worse than cigarette smoke. This was done in a Louisiana State University lab. The results indicated that wood smoke would have 40 times more health impacts than cigarette smoke. 

Also, the EPA claims that a single wood-burning fireplace running for an hour and burning 10 pounds of wood would end up generating 4,300 more carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons compared to 30 cigarettes. 

However, you should take note that it is easier to get away from wood smoke and we do not consume it as we would for cigarette smoke. So, cigarette smoke would still remain more harmful based on how we use it. 

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Conclusion: Are Wood-Burning Fireplaces Illegal

No. They are not entirely illegal. The different states in the U.S may have various legislations in place to help determine where you can and cannot use the wood-burning fireplaces. Also, you can get some places having rewards and tax incentives for those who use heating appliances that do not need to run on fossil fuels. So, check with your respective state to see what applies. 

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