Real Estate Measure - Fairbanks North Star Borough PM2.5 Nonattainment Area

This measure affects real estate transactions in the FNSB PM2.5 Nonattainment Area. It requires property owners to remove or replace
non-compliant wood-fired heating devices before the sale, lease, or conveyance of property within the Nonattainment Area. The regulations are intended to improve air quality by reducing the number of older, more polluting wood-fired heating devices in the area over time.

-This Measure Has Not Been Activated-

This measure is expected to go into effect Spring 2017 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) redesignates the PM2.5 Nonattainment Area from 'moderate' to 'serious.' The effective date will be posted once the redesignation has been published in the Federal Register. EPA has proposed the redesignation and the federal register notice is here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-16/pdf/2016-30174.pdf


Real Estate Licensees

 

Owners, Buyers, & Landlords

for sale sign
 

What Must Go?

 

What Can Stay?


Where?


 

Regulations

 

Ask a Question

 

Burn Wise Alaska








Real Estate Licensees


DEC regulations and the State Air Quality Control Plan (SIP) require wood-fired heating devices including wood stoves, pellet stoves, and hydronic heaters, to be removed from a property before sale, lease, or conveyance in the Fairbanks North Star Borough PM2.5 Nonattainment Area unless they are EPA-certified (wood and pellet stoves), have a qualifying Phase 2 "White Tag" (hydronic heaters), or meet current emission standards. This includes devices located anywhere on the property including inside the home, in a garage, and in outbuildings.

How to Identify EPA-Certified Wood Stoves and Pellet Stoves

Manufacturers of EPA-certified wood and pellet stoves are required to attach a permanent label to the stove. This label is usually located on the back of the stove and will include information about the stove including confirmation that the stove meets EPA particulate matter emission standards (see picture). If you cannot locate this tag, it is likely not an EPA-certified stove. Another sign that a stove is an older un-certified model is a lack of windows. To be sure, check the stove manufacturer and model against the lists of devices that DEC maintains on this page. Wood and pellet stoves that do not have EPA-certification must be removed from the property before the property is sold. Replacement devices are not required. However, if a new wood or pellet stove will be installed as a replacement, it must meet current emission standards for new installations.

How to Identify Phase 2 "White Tag" Hydronic Heaters

Manufacturers that participated in EPA's Phase 2 Voluntary Partnership for Hydronic Heaters could qualify for a "White Tag" on models that met emission standards. Wood-fired hydronic heaters that qualified for a "White Tag" do not need to be removed from property before that property is sold in order to comply with this measure. The voluntary agreement did not require manufacturers to apply a permanent label to the qualifying hydronic heater. The best way to determine if a wood-fired hydronic heater has a qualifying "White Tag" is to compare the manufacturer and model name against the lists of hydronic heaters DEC maintains on this page. If a wood-fired hydronic heater does not appear on one of these lists, it must be removed from the property before the property is sold. Replacement devices are not required. However, wood-fired heating devices that are installed as a replacement must meet current emission standards for new installations.

Compliance Guidance

The following guidance should be used in order to meet the requirements of 18 AAC 50.077 and the SIP - devices required to be removed should be removed or replaced:

  • For home or property sales: prior to the close of a sale (closing).
  • For leases: before commencement of the lease term.


Temporary Waivers

DEC may grant temporary waivers to the requirements of this measure on a case by case basis. DEC will consider the following factors when making a determination on a waiver request:

  1. Financial hardship information provided by the owner or operator;
  2. Technical feasibility information provided by the owner or operator;
  3. Potential impact to locations with populations sensitive to exposure to PM2.5 including hospitals, schools, child care facilities, health clinics, long-term care facilities, assisted living homes, and senior centers; and
  4. Transitional timing, such as, if a sale occurred prior to the effective date of this requirement but the closing is after the effective date.


Contact

If you have any questions about this measure or need assistance, please email: decburnwisealaska@alaska.gov or, contact Lee Borden at 907-451-5172.



Property Owners, Buyers, & Landlords


DEC regulations and the State Air Quality Control Plan (SIP) require wood-fired heating devices including wood stoves, pellet stoves, and hydronic heaters, to be removed from a property before sale, lease, or conveyance in the Fairbanks North Star Borough PM2.5 Nonattainment Area unless they are EPA-certified (wood and pellet stoves), have a qualifying Phase 2 "White Tag" (hydronic heaters), or meet current emission standards. This includes devices located anywhere on the property including inside the home, in a garage, and in outbuildings.

How to Identify EPA-Certified Wood Stoves and Pellet Stoves

Manufacturers of EPA-certified wood and pellet stoves are required to attach a permanent label to the stove. This label is usually located on the back of the stove and will include information about the stove including confirmation that the stove meets EPA particulate matter emission standards (see picture). If you cannot locate this tag, it is likely not an EPA-certified stove. Another sign that a stove is an older un-certified model is a lack of windows. To be sure, check the stove manufacturer and model against the lists of devices that DEC maintains on this page. Wood and pellet stoves that do not have EPA-certification must be removed from the property before the property is sold. Replacement devices are not required. However, if a new wood or pellet stove will be installed as a replacement, it must meet current emission standards for new installations.

How to Identify Phase 2 "White Tag" Hydronic Heaters

Manufacturers that participated in EPA's Phase 2 Voluntary Partnership for Hydronic Heaters could qualify for a "White Tag" on models that met emission standards. Wood-fired hydronic heaters that qualified for a "White Tag" do not need to be removed from property before that property is sold to comply with this measure. The voluntary agreement did not require manufacturers to apply a permanent label to the qualifying hydronic heater. The best way to determine if a wood-fired hydronic heater has a qualifying "White Tag" is to compare the manufacturer and model name against the lists of hydronic heaters DEC maintains on this page. If a wood-fired hydronic heater does not appear on one of these lists, it must be removed from the property before the property is sold. Replacement devices are not required. However, wood-fired heating devices that are installed as a replacement must meet current emission standards for new installations.

What if I Used the Borough Change Out Program?

If you obtained your device by participating in the Fairbanks North Star Borough Change Out program, the installed device is likely an EPA-certified or Phase 2 "White Tag" qualifying device and does not need to be removed when you sell your property. However, be sure to check for the permanent label on the back of EPA-certified wood and pellet stoves, or compare the device manufacturer and model name with the lists of devices DEC maintains on this page.

Compliance Guidance

The following guidance should be used in order to meet the requirements of 18 AAC 50.077 and the SIP - devices required to be removed should be removed or replaced:

  • For home or property sales: prior to the close of a sale (closing).
  • For leases: before commencement of the lease term.


Temporary Waivers

DEC may grant temporary waivers to the requirements of this measure on a case by case basis. DEC will consider the following factors when making a determination on a waiver request:

  1. Financial hardship information provided by the owner or operator;
  2. Technical feasibility information provided by the owner or operator;
  3. Potential impact to locations with populations sensitive to exposure to PM2.5 including hospitals, schools, child care facilities, health clinics, long-term care facilities, assisted living homes, and senior centers; and
  4. Transitional timing, such as, if a sale occurred prior to the effective date of this requirement but the closing is after the effective date.


Contact

If you have any questions about this measure or need assistance, please email: decburnwisealaska@alaska.gov or contact Lee Borden at 907-451-5172.



What Wood-Fired Heating Devices Must Be Removed?


Wood-fired heating devices including wood and pellet stoves, hydronic heaters, and large devices with greater than 350,000 Btu per hour heat output are affected by this measure. If the device is one of these types and is not listed in a list of EPA-certified and Phase 2 "White Tag" qualifying devices, it must be removed from the property before the property is sold, leased, or conveyed.

This measure does not require devices to be replaced, however, if you choose to replace the device with another wood-fired heating device, it must meet current emission standards for new installations.



What Wood-Fired Heating Devices Can Stay?


Devices that do not need to be removed:

List of EPA-Certified Wood Stoves (up to 7.5 g/hr)

List of EPA-Certified Pellet Stoves (up to 7.5 g/hr)

List of Phase 2 "White Tag" Hydronic Heater (up to 0.32 lbs/MMBtu)

Fireplaces

Masonry Heaters

Devices that meet Emissions Standards for New Installations (up to 2.5 g/hr)

This measure does not affect these types of devices:

  • Fireplaces
  • Masonry Heaters
  • Oil-Fired Heaters
  • Gas-Fired Heaters
  • Coal-Fired Heaters



Where


This measure only affects real estate transactions located inside the Fairbanks North Star Borough PM2.5 Nonattainment Area.

DEC maintains a zoom-able online map (please allow a moment for the orange boundary layer to load) that allows users to view the boundaries of the Nonattainment Area over satellite imagery. This tool will help you determine if a property is affected by this measure.

 



Regulations and State Air Quality Plan (SIP)


The regulations requiring this measure are contained in 18 AAC 50.077 Standards for wood-fired heating devices and in the State Air Quality Plan (SIP) Section III.D.05.10.05.02 (see page 4 of the pdf) adopted by reference in 18 AAC 50.030 State air quality plan.

These regulations and SIP were proposed in 2013 and later adopted in 2014 as part of a package addressing air quality in the Fairbanks North Star Borough PM2.5 Nonattainment Area. There was a public comment period and DEC received public input on this measure. DEC's responses to the public's concerns are addressed in the 2013 Response to Comments (see page 36) and 2014 Response to Comments (see page 26). DEC maintains copies of documents related to the 2013 Regulatory Proposal and the 2014 Regulatory Proposal online.

The Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7502(c)(9)) requires states to adopt contingency measures as part of their air quality plans for Nonattainment Areas. These measures must be designed to go into effect if an area does not attain the air quality standards in time. The deadline for meeting the PM2.5 standard for the FNSB PM2.5 Nonattainment area was December 31, 2015. The area did not meet this deadline. As a result, EPA will redesignate the area from moderate to serious in Summer 2016. DEC will post the redesignation date once it has been published in the Federal Register.

Alaska's regulations contain two contingency measures that are triggered by redesignation, this measure affecting property transactions that goes into effect immediately and another measure requiring registration of commercial wood sellers that will go into effect after a 60 day public notice period. These measures are designed to help improve air quality in the Nonattainment Area. This measure requiring removal or replacement of older, more polluting, wood-fired devices when a property is sold, leased, or conveyed will accelerate turnover and result in fewer of these devices operating in the area and reduce wood smoke emissions. Wood-fired devices that appear on any of DEC's lists of EPA-certified and Phase 2 "White Tag" devices do not need to be removed or replaced. Registration of commercial wood sellers will require wood sellers to disclose the moisture content of the wood they sell. This allows consumers to make educated decisions about whether wood needs to be seasoned to reduce its moisture content to less than 20%, or if the wood is dry and can be burned right away.



Questions and Answers


If you have any questions or need assistance, please email: decburnwisealaska@alaska.gov or contact Lee Borden at 907-451-5172

 

Responses to general questions from the public will be available online and accessible through this webpage.


Frequent Questions


Q: Do I need to remove or replace my fireplace when I sell my house?

A: Fireplaces - No. This measure does not affect fireplaces. They do not need to be removed or replaced. However, Fireplace Inserts, such as pellet stoves or wood stoves that fit into a fireplace chamber, ARE affected by this measure and must be removed or replaced unless they meet emission criteria and are listed on one of several lists.


Q: What if I can't find the label or think it burned off?

A: EPA certified devices are required to have a permanent label made of material that will last the lifetime of the wood heater. They must also be affixed in a manner that the label cannot be removed without damage. Typically these labels are metal with the make and model stamped in it. It is unlikely a label has burned off. The federal labeling requirements, which began in 1988, may be found at 40 CFR 60.536. If the label cannot not be found on the device (back, front, underneath, or hidden behind a panel), then it can be assumed the device is non-certified.


Q: Who is liable for compliance with these regulations?

A: The regulations apply to the real estate professional's clients who are buying, selling, or leasing real estate with an affected wood heater. This new regulation is not any different from other issues real estate agents already face with respect to matters affecting real estate transactions. A realtor's duties to their clients and the grounds for disciplinary action by the Real Estate Commission are unchanged.


Q: How will DEC monitor compliance with these regulations?

A: DEC will rely on complaints that the regulations have not been complied with.


Q: How will DEC handle complaints?

A: DEC will investigate complaints to determine if there has been a violation of the regulation. DEC's goal is compliance and it will work with individuals to assist with compliance. Enforcement actions will be evaluated by DEC, in conjunction with the Department of Law, on a case-by-case basis.


Advisory Letters

ADEC is reaching out to Elected Officials and Real Estate Professionals to provide information about this measure before it is activated.

      May 17, 2016 - Letter to Elected Officials
      May 19, 2016 - Letter to Real Estate Professionals
      December 23, 2016 - 2nd Letter to Real Estate Professionals