Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Fireplace Emissions

Down the page, most recent first
Placer County Threat
Gas Logs Not to be Regulated - US Court
Obfuscation Still the Rule in California
EPA Won't Regulate Fireplaces Nationally
Convoluted Tangle of Rules
California Hearth and Homes
New NSPS Rules
Napa County
EPA's Indoor air PLUS specifications
Forging Ahead - No Recourse
MCAA Negotiates with EPA
EPA Seeks Small Business Input
Regulation or Ban?
Wood-burning Fireplace Program Progress
EPA Includes Masonry Fireplaces
EPA's Low Mass Fireplace Program
New Source Performance Standard
New Epa Voluntary Fireplace Program and ASTM E2558 standard
May your lum keep blithely reekin'
Currently met Standards
Useful Links

EPA Burn Wise list - Regulation 6 - Press Release

Obfuscation Still the Rule in California

6/10/15 (email to a customer in Healdsburg)

We have pretty much been regulated out of business in California. The EPA Phase II testing for stoves is inappropriate for testing fireplaces but the EPA has launched a voluntary fireplace emissions testing program for local air quality regulators to use if they want to. Unfortunately the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has chosen not to allow any fireplaces no matter how clean and even if they are "EPA Qualified".

So we finally decided to promote Rumford fireplaces fitted with gas logs as shown at http://www.rumford.com/GasRumfords.html The only difference is that we make sure the gas logs are installed and placarded before final inspection since some of our customers just would get approval and never installed the gas logs. The chief building official at Napa County said "If I saw a Rumford with a gas log set installed I would probably approve it". See http://www.rumford.com/woodburningregulation/NapaCty.html

But then we ran into the California Green Building Code which requires all gas fireplaces to be sealed, direct-vent units. In talking with the California Green Building Code Administrator, Tom Maken, he simply read the code to me but said three times during our conversation that it was up to the local code official. See http://www.rumford.com/code/CaliforniaGreenBuildingCode2010.html

Our customers continue to get permits, especially if they have influence, money or lawyers and the local building officials are often on our side if you give them a reason to approve.

So my recommendation is to go in to ask for a permit armed with our Washington test results at http://www.rumford.com/testRumfordresults.html If you are willing to settle for a Rumford with gas logs, also take the basic information linked to http://www.rumford.com/GasRumfords.html And be nice to the plans examiner.

Please let me know what you decide and whether or not you got a permit for a Rumford.


10/25/11 (from letter to an architect)

Unfortunately I can't give you a satisfactory answer to your question about whether or not our Rumfords are approved in California. It depends on where you want the build it, the local policy and, I'm afraid, the time of day and whether or not your customer has a lawyer.

The industry and EPA did a good job over the last few years developing an EPA Voluntary Fireplace Standard based on a new ASTM fireplace emissions standard.

We were very involved. I was chair of the ASTM masonry fireplace task force but we have not spent the money to test to the new standard since the California regulators have not yet approved (in the almost three years the rules have been in effect) a single fireplace that has been tested and has been "qualified" by the EPA.

Fireplaces, including ours, are being approved, however, at the county level, especially for people with power, money and lawyers. A sad situation in my view.

You can read all about it at http://www.rumford.com/emissions/index.htm

I would start with the local building inspector armed with our California Manual at http://www.rumford.com/manualca.html and the test results at http://www.rumford.com/testRumfordresults.html. See what they say, let me know and let's see what we can do.

Jim Buckley

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EPA won't Regulate Fireplaces under NSPS, "at this time"


At the HPBA Expo in Salt Lake City March 2, Gil Wood, EPA Staff Lead for NSPS, said that the EPA would not regulate manufactured or masonry site-built fireplaces nationally under the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for New Residential Wood Heaters currently being updated.

He did say, however, that the EPA Voluntary Fireplace Emissions Program would still be available as a tool for those state and local air quality regulators who want to regulate fireplace emissions.

This is good news. We thought that the EPA might regulate masonry fireplace emissions nationally. We are grateful for the support we received from the industry, especially from Chip Clark, BIA, and Jeff Buczkiewicz, MCAA, and from many masons and industry people who submitted comments to the EPA through the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel process back in May, 2010.

The EPA could still regulate fireplaces under NSPS rules. Gil went to some length to emphasize that his presentation was just a draft and must still go through a public comment process. And then there is that unsettling tag line, "at this time".

Participation in the EPA Voluntary Fireplace Emissions Program and becoming "EPA Qualified" is also probably the only way masonry fireplaces will be permitted in California and other states and local areas that regulate fireplace emissions - and that is by no means guaranteed. See the comments below about the convoluted rules.

Participation in the Voluntary Program and becoming "EPA Qualified" may also be the only way masonry fireplaces will be allowed in the increasing number of LEED and other "green" or energy efficient homes across the nation. See EPA's "Indoor airPLUS" Construction Specifications.

Gil Wood's Presentation
BIA Newsletter article by Chip Clark

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Convoluted Tangle of Rules


This week I spent some time looking into what authority the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has. The legislation creating the BAAQMD is in Division 26, Part 3, Chapter 4 of the California Health and Safety Code.

I can't find where state law gives the BAAQMD the authority to interpret or hold up the rules which they do have the authority to promulgate. In fact I think by adding the words in Regulation 6, "and has been approved in writing by the APCO" they may have tried to expand their authority by rule-making beyond their legislative mandate.

At least that's what I'm finding at the city and county level. The BAAQMD claims to have authority in nine counties - Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alemeda, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. I decided to ask the counties what they think.

Napa County doesn't think so. I learned that an Isokern with a cat was approved in Napa County because it was on the EPA Burn Wise list. The BAAQMD has not approved the Isokern but EPA Qualified was good enough for the Napa plans examiner, John Taylor.

Alameda County and San Francisco allow wood-burning in historic homes built before 1942 which is not in the BAAQMD Regulation 6 and seems to be a more liberal exception.

Santa Clara County still has a 1990 Ordinance on wood-burning appliances that predates Regulation 6 and Joe Takacs, the building inspector, said he must follow the county rules - not the BAAQMD Regulation 6.

So does the BAAQMD have any authority over the city and county building officials? Do the city and county officials even know about Regulation 6? Maybe we should help the cities and counties write their own new rules and ignor the BAAQMD. See our recommendations.

Tell us your experience getting permits for and building masonry fireplaces. Help us build a case. Let us know if you are willing to contact your elected officials. Call us at 360 531 1081 or email us by clicking here. Please tell us your name and a way to contact you.

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EPA Releases Its Proposed NSPS Numbers


Good news concerning the EPA's New Source Performance Standard (NSPS). Although the fat lady has yet to sing, it appears that the EPA is moving toward a standard that will be much friendlier to the hearth industry than previously thought.

The EPA is planning on one emissions number to include both catalytic and non-catalytic appliances. Despite rumors that the number might be as low as 2 gph, Gil Wood, EPA's staff lead for the NSPS, confirmed that EPA will propose the Washington State emissions standard of 4.5 gph.

The good news for manufacturers is that 85 percent of the current wood stoves and inserts already meet that standard. Pellet stoves also will be required to meet the Washington State pellet appliance standard of 2.5 gph.

The EPA has said that the NSPS revisions will include "all solid fuel heaters," and the HPBA has been arguing that wood-burning fireplaces are not heaters and that the voluntary ASTM Phase 2 standard should be accepted.

Wood also has confirmed that the NSPS will not include wood-burning fireplaces "at this time," and that the current ASTM Phase 2 voluntary standard will be accepted. The EPA is continuing to develop revised or new NSPS standards for hydronic heaters, single-burn wood stoves and masonry heaters according to Wood.

The EPA also has threatened to set standards for pellet fuel, but reaction by the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) to revise its fuel standards has met with favor from the EPA. "There are still some details to work out with the PFI, but we're very pleased by where the PFI fuel standards are headed," Wood acknowledged. "We are ensuring that no construction waste will be included in the fuel so we won't have to write new standards."

The proposed revised NSPS will be published in June of 2011, followed by a 60-day comment period. The final NSPS is to be published in July 2012. Wood stove and insert manufacturers will be required to produce products meeting the standard, "as quickly as possible," after publication of the NSPS, according to Wood. "The time to go into effect is a little bit shorter now, since 85 percent of the models already meet the standard."

Other products included in the revised NSPS will be phased in and published at various times, according to Wood.

Wood does offer caution about celebrating just yet. "I'm not the EPA administrator and we don't know for certain how this will all come out. Nothing is a done deal yet."

- By Bill Sendelback


So what do we do now? Maybe it's time to do something. Here are some talking points.

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Napa County


Napa County approved an Isokern with a Catalytic Combustor that was one of the seven EPA "qualified" fireplaces on the EPA Burn Wise list.

We are not sure if that means the BAAQMD approved the fireplace or if Napa County just approved it on their own which begs the question of what authority the BAAQMD has over local city and county governments.

We're not sure. Click here if you know or can shed some light. Anyway, looks like an opportunity.

More when we find out.- Jim Buckley

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Forging Ahead without Recourse
A Report from Paul Tiegs

... The way I see it, the current deal is: EPA is not done with fireplaces for their new New Source Performance Standard. The one they are working on right now and due out next year.

The Voluntary Program is being used by manufacturers but not one significant air quality district has adopted it as an acceptable standard (supposedly because none of them think it will help reduce fireplace emissions in their district.

Take this situation plus what appears to be the new target of 2.7 g/kg being solidified within EPA and you will find that just about every EPA email or industry/EPA conference-call-meeting minutes mentions the 2.7 number - which to me is a strong indication that that or even something lower may be our future.

My own opinion is they are just "softening" the battlefield with low-emissions artillery and bomb shells just to make it easier for them to "take the hill"; ie, lower the big hammer later. The part of this whole regulatory development process that will worry me through the whole process is that when the Feds or even the States say everything is done and said, the local jurisdictions will get out their own hammers to, in their minds, reduce emissions even further. Each of them can then add some more puff to their resumes, retire, take a promotion, or change jobs with secure knowledge that they will leave an impressive legacy or reputation for the causes of "clean air".



    I don't think we can reach 2.7 g/kg without some magic. And, increasingly, I don't see the point in trying. I think you have the politics at the air quality district level right. I would go a step farther and say, as Gary Finiol in Colorado (who was at least honest) said, "We've already gotten rid of fireplaces and, even if they were as clean as pellet stoves, we would see that as a step backward to approve fireplaces." The BAAQMD and their ilk seem to be following the same strategy with less honesty by administering their rules and regulations as if they were bans.

    I think regulating fireplaces on a national level will be shocking news to the rest of the country which hasn't been warmed up like the folks in Colorado and California have been. Our only defense seems to be legal and political. The regulators as much as point the way. If they could get away with banning fireplaces (maybe all wood-burning) they would.

    Regards, Jim

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Mason Contractors Association of America Negotiates with EPA
from: Jeff Buczkiewicz
to: Jim Buckley ,
Chip Clark
cc: "John Smith Jr." ,
Mackie Bounds ,
Mark Kemp ,
Mike Sutter ,
Robin Bohannon ,
Tom Daniel
date: Tue, Oct 5, 2010
subject: Suggestions for course on green fireplaces for MCAA Certification of Masons?

I wanted to update you all on where we are currently at with the EPA and the discussion on certification. I have finally spoken with both Gil Wood and David Cole at the EPA this morning. We discussed several items and ideas and they were very excited about the thoughts and moving forward with them. I expressed a desire on our part to form a certification committee to begin the process of developing a certification program for masonry fireplace installation. I asked them to participate either by sitting on the committee or if not permitted them to act as advisors to the committee to make sure we have everything covered that they see to have implemented to make this successful for both our industry and the EPA. We discussed quite a few things from our current certification program, costs associated with such a program and touched a bit on a clean burn campaign targeting the general public.

I did discuss with them our new competition that we are going to be holding at this years convention.

That being the fireplace construction project.

I did mention to him that we are looking into the possibility of having the DIY network covering and being a part of the contest and that if it goes through there could be a great opportunity for the EPA to utilize the opportunity to help promote their clean burn program through a PSA during the broadcast. They seemed quite excited about it and very anxious to move things forward. I expect to hear from them soon regarding their formal or informal participation on the certification committee, they needed to clear it through EPA attorney's. I told them I would move forward with the development of the committee and be back to them shortly with details. They were looking forward to hearing who would comprise the committee and I asked them to submit names of anyone they felt would be appropriate to sit with the group.

The e-mail I am forwarding you is something Gil sent out just before our call this morning. He is soliciting within EPA for ideas to help with a program which I find to be very encouraging. Please let me know if you have any questions. I will be forming the group this week and early next week and moving from there to the developmental stages. Talk to you soon.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Wood.Gil@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Wood.Gil@epamail.epa.gov]
    Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 2010
    To: atmyren@gmail.com; rick.curkeet@intertek.com; paultiegs@omni-test.com; "Bob Ferguson"@gateout01.mbox.net; kinsey.john@epamail.epa.gov; Shores.Richard@epamail.epa.gov; Price.David@epamail.epa.gov; Dupree.John@epamail.epa.gov; toney.mike@epa.gov; John Crouch Cc: jeffb@masoncontractors.org; Cole.David@epamail.epa.gov; Edwards.Chebryll@epamail.epa.gov; wood.gil@epa.gov; Braverman.Tom@epamail.epa.gov
    Subject: Suggestions for course on green fireplaces for MCAA Certification of Masons?

    Dear Esteemed Wood-burning Fireplace Combustion Experts and Friends,

    Jeff, David, and I are discussing the suggestion in the small business panel meetings that EPA and MCAA and others explore the option of including a course on green fireplaces as part of MCAA's Certification of Masons. We are interested in what you would consider to be important to be included, especially non-confidential lessons learned as you and others have developed cleaner-burning fireplaces. Also, we are interested in what materials are already available as the foundation for such a course.

    Thank you in advance for your help.


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EPA Seeks Small Business Input
(Courtesy, Colby Dehoff)

Dave Ryan (News Media Only)

May 4, 2010

EPA Seeks Small Business Input on Revising Standards for New Residential Wood Heaters

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting small businesses to nominate representatives to participate in a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel as the agency develops fine particle emission limits for new residential wood heaters and other burning devices, such as wood stoves and hydronic heaters.

More than 10 million wood stoves are used in the United States. They're everywhere, but more prevalent in colder climates. Many are used as supplemental heat. Hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor wood heaters, number about 500 thousand in the United States. Most are sold for use in rural, cold climate areas where wood is readily available; however, the units can be found throughout America. Use of these heaters has increased in recent years as home heating oil prices have risen.

A major health threat from smoke comes from fine particles (also called particle pollution, particulate matter, or PM). These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis -- In addition, fine particle exposure can lead to a variety of health effects.

Nominations must be received by May 14, 2010. In the past, EPA selected panel members in consultation with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), but did not invite small businesses to nominate representatives. EPA and SBA, however, are now taking the additional step of seeking nominations directly from small businesses. EPA is required to set up the panel by the Regulatory Flexibility Act if a rule may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses.

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA issued standards for new residential wood heaters, including wood stoves, in 1988. The law requires that EPA periodically review these standards. EPA completed a draft review in 2009, noting that improvements in technology allow emissions to be better controlled than the existing standards require. In light of this review, EPA anticipates proposing revisions to the standards in 2011. The revisions could include improved regulation of wood heaters, along with new regulation of other residential devices that use solid biomass fuels.

More information about participating in the panel: http://www.epa.gov/sbrefa/woodheaters.htm


Here are our Recommendations & Comments
Have a comment? click here.

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Regulation or Ban?


Seven fireplaces have tested to the new ASTM E2558 fireplace emissions standard and have been "qualified" by the EPA under the EPA's new Voluntary Fireplace Program. See http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/participation.html Yet none of these fireplaces has been approved by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) nor in Sacramento nor Sonoma County, nor by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in Southern California. All these areas which have what look like fireplace emissions regulations seem to have, in fact, banned fireplaces.

EPA staff says as much when they say "We can't make local and state regulators cooperate with the Voluntary Program" and imply that these regulators may think they have already banned fireplaces and so won't approve any even if the EPA does qualify them.

The EPA also insists that they will include fireplaces in the New Source Pollution Standard (NSPS) program (that has only regulated stoves so far) as soon as within two years. That would mean fireplaces would have to be EPA approved to be built anywhere in the US - but still probably not in areas like the Bay Area that want to ban or establish stricter regulations.

Our Rumfords will pass the EPA standard and we could seek EPA qualification but why? Maybe "EPA qualified" would be useful for marketing purposes or to qualify for LEED or Energy Star homes or in areas not yet regulating fireplace emissions but, with the economy down and with no apparent immediate benefit to EPA qualification, we will wait and see.

Then there is the Faustian Deal gone wrong. Remember, fireplaces volunteered to be considered "merely decorative" in order to avoid the draconian NSPS force of law measures which include $32,000 per day fines for non compliance and may require efficiency standards. Now that we get the draconian NSPS rules anyway maybe we, who have an efficient radiant heating Rumford fireplace, need to look for another niche. "Merely decorative" is not a very good marketing claim and it might be too easy to ban something that pollutes even a little but has no utility. But that's another story.

Here is our Report to MACS
Comments and Amplifications

Have a comment? click here.

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Wood-burning Fireplace Program Progress


After our short Masonry Fireplace (ASTM E06.54.07) task group meeting in Atlanta last week we engaged in a discussion about the future of the EPA "Voluntary Fireplace Program". Gill Wood and Mike Toney from the EPA were there as were several people from the Clay Flue Lining Institute, some masonry heater and metal fireplace representatives and the regulars from ASTM and the Hearth Barbeque & Patio Association.

Gill reported that one fireplace had been approved by EPA and that at least two more probably soon will be. He said the EPA wanted to wait until at least two or three fireplaces from different companies had been approved before promoting the program publicly and to the state and local air quality regulators. He thought that would take about two weeks.

The EPA Wood-Burning Fireplace Program website has been shifted to http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/participation.html#fireplace where you can see that there are currently six "partners" and one "qualified" "cleaner" fireplace.

Gill hastened to add that the EPA wouldn't be able to force local regulators to participate in the "Voluntary Fireplace Program" and that they were free to enforce more stringent standards.

Finally the bombshell: Gill said the EPA would like to include fireplaces, along with all other wood-burning appliances, in the New Source Performance Standard for Wood Heaters (NSPS). "But not to worry", said Gill, "That won't happen for at least two more years and, in the meantime, we want to push the 'Voluntary Program' for fireplaces."

So, where does that leave us? Why should anyone test a fireplace if it is not likely to be accepted in areas that now ban or regulate fireplaces and are free to ignore us? Turning the question around, why would any of the local regulators participate and allow clean-burning fireplaces when they have all but banned all fireplaces already?

I'm not ready to consider the consequences of fireplaces having to be part of the NSPS program but I do know that most of the small stove manufacturers went out of business soon after the EPA began mandatory national regulation of stoves in the late 1970s. My assumption is that, if the EPA brings fireplaces into the NSPS program, the big metal fireplace manufacturers will survive - even prosper - but that will be the end of the individually built custom masonry fireplace business as we know it. Masonry contractors and manufacturers in the masonry industry are too small and too fragmented even to keep up with the paperwork.

The next day the stove and pellet stove manufacturers met to discuss developing an ASTM standard to replace the EPA Method 5H in the NSPS now being revised by EPA. I thought I'd learn something about how fireplaces might be regulated if they were in the NSPS process, but the meetings were all business, technically developing a testing standard, talking about filters, etc.

In the hallways, however, at least one metal fireplace manufacturer strongly advised not to get involved with NSPS and to try to make the Voluntary Fireplace Program work.

With the big NSPS motivator at our heels, let's go back to the questions:

    (1) Why should we test a fireplace if it is not likely to be accepted in areas that now regulate fireplaces anyway? and
    (2) What can we do to encourage state and local regulators to participate in the EPA Voluntary Fireplace Program and allow clean-burning fireplaces?

About the only reason I can see to test and apply for EPA approval is because we are certain not to be approved if we don't test just as we are certainly not going to win the lottery if we don't buy a ticket. Maybe there's more of an opportunity if we focus on the second question - encouraging the regulators to accept the voluntary program.

We might propose, for example, that retrofitting or replacing existing fireplaces with clean-burning fireplaces would reduce their overall emissions. Maybe if a person is remodeling they could be allowed to replace an existing fireplace with an EPA approved fireplace. Retrofitting or restoration may be a little more tricky since there may be size or style issues. But we know what makes fireplaces burn cleaner so maybe some improvements, short of an EPA approved fireplace but still effective in reducing emissions, such as a redesigned grate or adding doors, gas logs or a filter would be approved.

Gas logs would appear to be a no-brainer in that installing gas logs in any fireplace would virtually eliminate particulate emissions. But some regulators won't approve gas logs in new fireplaces because they point out that it's possible to remove the gas logs and burn wood. Hey, it's possible to remove the catalytic converter on your car, drive faster than the speed limit and cheat on your taxes too but none of our customers would do any of those things. We should work hard to convince regulators to allow gas logs to be installed at least in existing fireplaces and, I would argue, also in new fireplaces so that there will be an industry to continue developing and improving clean-burning fireplaces.

Some of the regulations, especially the ones that keep shifting and under which no fireplace has ever been approved, look more like bans than regulations. In San Francisco a few years ago the BAAQMD came out with a model ordinance that required fireplaces to meet an EPA emissions standard "if the EPA ever comes out with one". That looked like a ban to us at the time. Now we do have an EPA fireplace emissions standard. It may be too early to tell if the new BAAQMD Regulation 6 will be amended to allow fireplaces tested to ASTM E2558 and approved by the EPA but, if not, that may be an arguing point.

If the current set of fireplace regulations are, in fact, intended to function as bans, perhaps it's because an outright ban would not be popular and not survive an up or down vote. We could ask some legislators. We could run a survey. We could ask for support from our dealers, masons, builders and architects. We could ally with realtors and home builder associations. Maybe we could even work toward a referendum. It couldn't be more expensive nor less effective than a law suit. We tried that.

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So far, three months after the EPA included masonry fireplaces in the renamed "Wood-burning Fireplace Program", only one fireplace (a metal one) has been tested for emissions to ASTM E2558 and approved by the EPA. Even that fireplace has not been accepted by any state or local air quality management district.

A spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in California told me that the BAAQMD was waiting until the EPA finished some modeling study which might change the Phase II passing grade of 5.1 g/kg. He had no answer to my question, "Why don't you approve them as a Phase I fireplace?"

We wonder what the EPA is doing to work with these state and local air quality management districts to help them revise their "rules" to recognize the EPA Voluntary Wood-burning Fireplace Program.

We wonder why the fireplace industry is not flocking to the test labs, getting their fireplaces approved by the EPA and applying to the BAAQMD and other air quality management districts.

... Jim Buckley

Have a comment? click here.

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EPA Includes Masonry Fireplaces


EPA has agreed to revise the "low mass wood-burning fireplace" partnership agreement to include masonry fireplaces and call it simply the "wood-burning fireplace" partnership agreement". Click on Gil's draft Agreement which we do not expect will change much.

We are very pleased with this decision which came as a result of the work of many in the industry as well as those of the HPBA, especially Tom Stroud and David Menotti. We are also fortunate to have a good working relationship with the EPA and especially with Gil Wood.

Soon we expect the EPA to announce the final and official "Wood-burning Fireplace Partnership Agreement" but maybe not until a few models have been qualified, according to Gil.

Again, thank you for all your work on behalf of masonry fireplaces. I join Gil in encouraging cleaner-burning fireplaces and looking forward to "lots of qualified models in the near future".

Jim Buckley
Chair, ASTM E06.54.07 Masonry Fireplace Task Group

    To: undisclosed group
    Subject: Greg Green has approved for us to proceed to revise the "low mass wood-burning fireplace" partnership agreement to "wood-burning fireplace"
    From: Gil Wood
    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009

    As we recommended, Greg Green has approved for us to proceed to revise the "low mass wood-burning fireplace" partnership agreement to "wood-burning fireplace" and thus include masonry fireplaces, contingent upon the changes be only to expand the scope and to keep the qualifying emission levels and dates and test method the same. My understanding from earlier conversations and again on June 16, this should be acceptable to your members. Thus, we will proceed quickly to make the limited word changes, ask those that have already signed to sign the revised agreement, and open the agreement to other potential partners.

    Thank you for interest in encouraging cleaner-burning fireplaces. I look forward to lots of qualified models in the near future.

    Gil Wood, EPA

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EPA's Low Mass Wood-burning Fireplace Program


Currently the EPA's Low Mass Wood-burning Fireplace Program excludes masonry fireplaces even though the ASTM test standard does include masonry fireplaces.

Read about the EPA's Low Mass Wood-burning Fireplace Program on the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/air/fireplaces/program.html.

The issue seems to be mostly the perceived difficulty in auditing - how to be sure a field constructed masonry fireplace is just like the one built and tested in a test lab.

Stay tuned. Convincing the EPA to include masonry fireplaces in the Agreement is extremely important for those of us interested in masonry fireplaces.

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New Source Performance Standard for Wood Heaters (NSPS)

HPBA Conference

The Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) held a conference in Denver May 27-28, 2009 to prepare for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review of the New Source Performance Standard for Wood Heaters (NSPS). The EPA is required by law to revise the NSPS every ten years and it has been twenty so they are under some threat of another suit by the Lung Association and various environmental groups.

Fireplaces were not included in the conference because the EPA has just concluded a "Voluntary Agreement" (at least for "low mass" fireplaces) with the fireplace industry. This conference was about revision of the wood stove regulation. The EPA is ratcheting up the standards to maybe 4.5 g/hr for stoves, including efficiency requirements and broadening the net to include pellet stoves, outdoor hydronic heaters, furnaces, cook stoves, etc. The meeting included the owners or test lab directors of all the major stove, insert, outdoor hydronic heater, wood-burning furnace and pellet stove manufacturers in the US and Canada. Some are in a panic. The NSPS regulation by EPA carries the force of law including recall of all appliances sold if a surprise audit results in a test that shows that an appliance does not meet the standard - with a $32,000 per day fine until the recall is accomplished - to get their attention.

This was all a blinding glimpse of the obvious for me. I never understood why the metal fireplace manufacturers decided to work so hard to develop a fireplace emissions testing protocol and standard. A few years ago I thought the fireplace industry was willing to write off fireplace (builder's box) sales in areas that regulated fireplace emissions rather than have a fireplace emissions standard that might lead to the regulation of fireplace emissions nationwide. Turns out the metal fireplace manufactures have negotiated a Faustian deal with EPA. Fireplaces, they argue, are "merely decorative appliances". They are not "heating appliances". As such, fireplaces are not used daily to heat but rather they are used rarely if at all - maybe only a couple of times a year or maybe in some cases on an evening or two per week and weekends. Having been convinced, the EPA developed the "Voluntary Program" we have been working on for five years. The fireplace manufacturers can use the "Voluntary Program" which includes testing to the new ASTM E2558 standard, to try to get approval in "non-attainment" areas - areas like the Bay Area and Denver where air quality does not meet federal standards. In the rest of the country they don't expect fireplaces to be regulated.

That new insight for me makes some things clear and raises other questions:

1) I have objected to being just a "merely decorative appliance" but, if I win the argument that Rumfords are effective radiant heaters, I may have just signed up to be regulated nationally under the force of law as a "heating appliance", complete with all the audits, recalls and $32,000 a day fines. Maybe I could live with Rumfords being "merely decorative" in Denver and tout their heating qualities in Chicago.

2) Being a "merely decorative appliance", however, may still turn out to be a liability. With the rising consciousness about issues like global warming and being "green", will our neighbors and people in general come to feel that polluting, even just a little, just for fun, when there is little or no benefit, is immoral? Will using a fireplace come to seem like smoking cigarettes or driving a Hummer?

3) Are there any assurances that, even if we pass the emissions tests and get on the EPA approved list, that local air quality regulators will certify or approve us? It's a "voluntary" program after all.

4) Now that we have a fireplace emission standard, even if it is voluntary, how certain can we be that the rest of the country won't embrace and enforce it in future?

The temporary conclusion I come to is that in the near future masonry fireplaces can survive nationally and the clean-burning ones will probably be approved in at least some of the non-attainment areas. In the long run we will have to accept the fact of fireplace emission regulation, which will probably spread, and we should promote the usefulness of fireplaces as supplemental and emergency heaters, short of getting them classified as "heating appliances".

For those of us who are interested in developing a clean-burning masonry fireplace, the EPA still has not agreed to include masonry fireplaces in the "Voluntary Agreement" they have concluded with the "low mass" (metal) fireplace industry. The HPBA is working to persuade the EPA to include masonry fireplaces and have promised to press the issue at their meeting with the EPA about the NSPS on June 16, 2009.

The Buckley Rumford Co.is and has been a member of HPBA. We recommend that other masonry industry companies also join the HPBA and support their efforts on our behalf. The HPBA has been in the business of dealing with EPA regulation for a long time and they are effective.

... Jim Buckley

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New ASTM Fireplace Emissions Standard


A new ASTM standard - E2558-08 - on fireplace emissions has been approved and published. Masonry fireplaces are included in an Annex to the standard which equates a 35% oxygen recovery to the fuel weights measured on a scale used to determine when to re-load and end the test.

We are only waiting on the EPA to negotiate an Agreement with the fireplace industry, decide what the passing emissions "number" will be and announce E2558 as a "voluntary standard" that local and state regulators can use to regulate fireplace emissions if they so choose.

We hope that the new standard and EPA's active involvement will result in better regulation with more science and less politics. We expect our clean-burning Rumford fireplaces will be able to meet the standard but we also expect that we will have to monitor and lobby for fair local rule-making for months if not years to come.

... Jim Buckley

ASTM E2558 - The EPA
Testing for an ASTM Standard, 2005-8
Background: A Round of Comparative Fireplace Emissions Testing in 2000


EPA Voluntary Fireplaces Program ASTM methods E2558 and E2515, as outlined in the partnership agreement. EPA will qualify models achieving a Phase 2 particulate matter emission level of 5.1 g/kg. List of qualifiedFireplaces

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May your lum keep blithely reekin'
Till ye're auld enough to dee.

A Hogmanay Toast

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Currently met Emissions Standards

Rumford fireplaces are clean-burning and heat efficiently.

Buckley Rumford fireplaces are approved as open fireplaces in Washington and in some of the areas of Colorado and California that regulate fireplace emissions. They meet the EPA stove standard by an equivalancy (since the EPA does not specifically have a standard for fireplaces) and should be permitted anywhere EPA certified stoves are permitted. Where emissions are regulated locally most local jurisdictions recognize our EPA certified test results and Washington approval and do permit Buckley Rumford fireplaces.

Our test results show that Buckley Rumford fireplaces not only meet the Washington fireplace emissions standard, with or without doors, but, with doors, they also meet the EPA Phase II stove emission "rate" of 7.5 grams of PM10 per hour.

If there is any question about approval in your area please let us know by clicking here so we can provide test results and/or apply for approval.

In general, here are our recommendations for applying for approval in any jurisdiction that regulates fireplace emissions.

Certified Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Buckley Rumford Fireplace Owners Manual
-- Instructions
-- Building a Fire in a Buckley Rumford Fireplace
-- Registration & Warrantee
-- Buckley Rumford Fireplace Emissions Test Results

Buckley Rumford Fireplace Owners Manual
Maricopa County Application
Rule 318
Maricopa County Notes
Yavapai County (Sedona)

EPA Burn Wise Qualified Fireplaces - Regulation 6 - Press Release
Buckley Rumford Fireplace Owners Manual
County and Local Rules Maintained by State
Bay Area Regulation 6, 2009
- A Convoluted Tangle of Rules
- Smoke Police
Emerging Rules in Southern California
Alameda and Bay Area Historic Register Rules
Contra Costa County
El Dorado County (South Truckee)
Los Altos
Los Gatos
Mammoth Lakes
Marin County
Menlo Park
Mill Valley
Monterey County
Napa County
Nevada County (Truckee)
Northern Sonoma County
Palo Alto
Pleasant Hill
San Fransisco
San Jose
San Mateo Cty/Woodside
San Luis Obispo
Santa Clara County
City of Sonoma
Sonoma County
Tahoe - Placer & El Dorado Counties, TRPA
California Air Resources Board District Rules Database

Buckley Rumford Fireplace Owners Manual
Regulation #4 absent? and earlier versions
Aspen - Pitkin County
Colorado Springs
Crested Butte
Eagle County Approves Rumfords - and then withdraws approval
Franktown & Douglas County
Grand County Approves Rumfords
Gunnison County Considers Rumfords
Larimer County
Pike Peak Regional Building Department
Summit County

Southern Nevada
Boulder City Nevada
Reno, Nevada

Press Release: Buckley Rumford Fireplaces Approved by Washington
Official Letter of Approval
Washington Emissions Law and List of Approved Fireplaces

Jackson Hole
Teton County

Emissions in the UK

Applied for or Pending Approvals

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Useful Links

EPA Certified Test Labs

8431 Murphy Drive
Madison WI 53562
800 967 5352
Rick Curkeet

LabTest Certification Inc.
3133-20800 Westminster Hwy
Richmond, BC V6V 2W3
855 346 0444 or 604 247 0444
CSA/CGA, ANSI/UL, EN, AN/NZ standards
Michael Fisher

Myren Consulting, Inc.
512 Williams Lake Road
Colville, WA 99114
Office: 509 684 1154, Lab: 509 685 9458, Fax: 509 685 2262
Ben Myren, 509 680 0595

OMNI Test Labs
PO Box 301367
Portland, Oregon 97294
13327 NE Airport Way
Portland, Oregon 97230
503 643 3788 (fax 503 643 3799)

Attorneys Skilled in Environmental Law

Arter & Hadden, LLP, Attorneys at Law
Offices in Ohio, Texas and California.
Richard Fehey, Columbus, OH

Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll
1225 17th Street, Suite 2300
Denver, CO 80202
303 299 7353
(Betsy Temkin, temkin@ballardspahr.com)

Gablehouse Calkins & Granberg, LLC
410 17th Street, Suite 1375
Denver, CO 80265
303 572 0050
(Tim Gablehouse*)

Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe Attorneys
Offices in Seattle, Oregon and California.
Michael R.Thorp, Seattle 206 389 6200 mthorp@hewm.com
Bill Maer, Seattle 206 389 4221 wmaer@hewm.com
Ken Finney, California, 415 772 6817 kfinney@hewm.com

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Rick Curkeet's Guide to 2015 EPA hearth emissions rules
Municipal Code Library
Clearance to Combustibles Testing
A New Round of Comparative Fireplace Emissions Testing - 1999-2000
EPA - Notes & Strategy
You CAN fight city hall - but you may lose
Fireplace Efficiency Discussion with Norbert
Lars Helbro, a heater builder from Denmark comments
Tiegs On A Voluntary Fireplace Standard
Rumford On Curiosity
Discussion Regarding Reporting Units for Emissions from Residential Cord-wood Burning Space-heating Appliances by Paul Tiegs, Director of OMNI Environmental Services
The Fireplace Emissions Issue by Jim Buckley - Fall, 1995)
Skip Hayden's anti fireplace article - Critiqued
American Bioenergy Association (good links)
Green Action (friends and allies)
Radiant Heat
Rumford Efficiency and links to literature
Fireplace Emissions Bibliography
Pyrolysis, gasification & down drafting fires
Fluid Dynamic Modeling of a Downdraft Wood-Fired Furnace, 2009
Clean-burning Ideas for masonry fireplaces
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Fireplace Emissions
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Copyright 1995 - 2023 Jim Buckley
All rights reserved.