The final rule for the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Residential Wood Heaters was signed Feb. 3, 2015, by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy after being reviewed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The HPBA expects this final rule to be published in the Federal Register “in the next few weeks,” according to Ryan Carroll, HPBA’s director of Government Affairs, and will go into effect 60 days after that publication.
The HPBA is reviewing and analyzing the 344-page rule and will offer a more detailed response after that review, which “won’t be completed for roughly two weeks,” says John Crouch, HPBA’s director of Public Affairs.
The final rule applies to pellet stoves and inserts, wood stoves and inserts, hydronic heaters and wood-fired forced air furnaces; it does not apply to indoor or outdoor fireplaces, masonry heaters, pizza ovens, fire pits, grills or chimineas, and not to heaters fueled by oil, gas or coal.
The good news for retailers is that they can continue to sell their existing inventory until Dec. 31, 2015.
For wood stoves, pellet stoves and hydronic heaters (also called outdoor wood boilers), the final rule will phase in emissions limits in two steps: The first step is effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and the second step takes effect in 2020, five years after the effective date of the final rule.
Catalytic and non-catalytic wood stoves and pellet stoves will be limited to 4.5 grams per hour of emissions in step one, testing can be done with cribs, or with cordwood with permission of the EPA. Current EPA-listed wood stoves and pellet stoves will be deemed automatically certified to the step one criteria.
The EPA has not yet determined if testing with cribs will use the same testing protocol as in the past, and the testing method with cordwood has not yet been completed. The final rule also requires efficiency and carbon monoxide testing and reporting, strictly for EPA’s data collection, not for minimums or maximums for appliance certification. This information will, however, be conveyed to the consumer to “provide consumers additional information to help them select the best wood heater for their homes," says the EPA.
In step two, pellet stoves and catalytic and non-catalytic wood stoves will be limited to 2.0 grams per hour if tested using cribs and 2.5 gph if tested with cordwood. Single burn-rate stoves will have to meet the same emissions limits in both steps as adjustable burn-rate stoves.
Emissions limits for hydronic heaters also will be phased in in two steps. Step one, 60 days after the rule is published, limits emissions to 0.32 lbs. per million Btus heat output, weighted average, with a cap of 18 gph for individual test runs. Any hydronic heater in the current EPA voluntary program will be “deemed certified” for five years.
In step two, effective in in 2020, emissions are limited to 0.10 lbs. per million Btus heat output for each burn rate if testing with cribs, and 0.15 lbs. per million Btus if testing with cordwood.
For wood-fired forced air furnaces, emissions limits also will be phased in in two steps to 2020. Step one will be effective one year after publication of the rule – 2016 – with emissions limits for “small” furnaces of 0.93 lbs. of particulate matter (PM) per million Btus heat output, weighted average, and requiring testing with cordwood; “large” furnaces will be required to meet the same emissions limits in 2017.
Step two, to be phased in in 2020 for both small and large furnaces, will have emissions limits of 0.15 pounds of PM per million Btus heat output, weighted average, testing with cordwood.
To reduce potential certification delays, the EPA will allow manufacturers a conditional certification for as long as one year after submitting a certification application and a full emissions test report from an EPA-accredited testing laboratory.
The HPBA plans informational meetings on the NSPS at the 2015 Expo in March in Nashville for manufacturers, retailers and sales representatives.
– By Bill Sendelback
To view the NSPS documents, click here.