It is a timeless tradition to have a wood-burning fireplace in your home or business to provide warmth and comfort. For this reason, many business and homeowners want to have a wood-burning fireplace on their property. However, in the United States, there are many local laws in place to help reduce wood smoke. Therefore, it is important to look up the local, state, and federal regulations regarding wood burning before constructing a fireplace.

What Are These Restrictions?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), local governments have specific laws regarding the use and construction of wood-burning appliances in their area. Some laws have restrictions for building new wood-burning appliances. Others do not prevent construction but have limitations on use if air quality is bad. In these instances, your local agency will send out an alert to stop using your wood-burning fireplace until the air quality has improved.

The EPA provides a list of local and state laws regarding wood burning to keep you updated on the restrictions and requirements. The ordinances range from voluntary reduction of the use of wood-burning appliances to complete bans on building new fireplaces. For example, in the Yolo-Solano air quality management district (AQMD), there is an optional “Don’t Light Tonight” program. This suggests that residents do not use wood-burning fireplaces when air quality is poor. Additionally, construction of new wood-burning fireplaces or stoves is not allowed at all in areas like Palo Alto and Santa Clara County California.

In addition to supplying information on local regulations, the EPA lists statewide laws for seven states regarding wood burning. Some states have specific emission requirements for newly installed wood-burning fireplaces. Others offer tax incentives for property owners who replace their old, uncertified wood-burning stove with a modern fireplace. Since these rules differ widely, make sure to check with your local and state regulations before building a new fireplace.

Why Are There Rules?

Local and state governments are not trying to lessen your enjoyment of a cozy fireplace with these restrictions. Their goal is to reduce possible health issues caused by poor air pollution. To accomplish this, there needs to be a reduction of wood smoke in susceptible areas and during times when air quality is hazardous. If you live in an area that has restrictions on installing new wood-burning fireplaces, consider the option of a cleaner, gas-burning fireplace. If construction of new wood-burning fireplaces is allowed in your area, keep up with local alerts. They will let you know when you should or should not use your fireplace.

Whether you want a wood-burning or gas-burning fireplace, the masonry professionals at Capo Artisan Series can help. We have the team of experts and high-quality materials you need to get the perfect fireplace for your home or business. We will make sure that you get the fireplace of your dreams while keeping any local and state requirements for your area. This can be made possible with our excellent masonry or metal fireplace designs from Capo.