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

This requirement affects real estate transactions in the FNSB PM2.5 Nonattainment Area. It requires removal or replacement of 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.

- Effective June 9, 2017 -

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has redesignated the PM2.5 Nonattainment Area from 'moderate' to 'serious.' EPA proposed the redesignation on May 10, 2017. See: Federal register notice (PDF).

 

Real Estate Licensees

Real Estate Licensees
 

Owners, Buyers, & Landlords

for sale sign
 

What Must Go?

What must go?
 

What Can Stay?

What can stay?
 

Where?

   Where?
 

Regulations

Regulations
 

Ask a Question

Ask a Question
 

Burn Wise Alaska

  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 Stovesback of woodstove EPA label

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. 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 requirement. 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. 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 this requirement 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.
     

    For questions regarding temporary waivers, please follow the process outlined on this page: Real Estate Requirement: Wood-Fired Heating Device Removal Requirement Exceptions and Request for Temporary Waiver Process


    Contact: If you have any questions about this requirement or need assistance, please email: decburnwisealaska@alaska.gov or call: 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 Stovesback of woodstove EPA label

    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. 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 requirement. 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. 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.
     

    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 this requirement 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.
     

    For questions regarding temporary waivers, please follow the process outlined on this page: Real Estate Requirement: Wood-Fired Heating Device Removal Requirement Exceptions and Request for Temporary Waiver Process

    Contact:

    If you have any questions about this requirement or need assistance, please email: decburnwisealaska@alaska.gov or call: 907-451-5172.


    What Wood-Fired Heating Devices Must Be Removed?

     

    Wood-fired heating devices including wood and pellet stoves, hydronic heaters, fireplace inserts, 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 EPA-certified, Phase 2 "White Tag" qualifying or exempted as mentioned below, it must be removed from the property before the property is sold, leased, or conveyed.

    A wood-fired heating device that is removed under this requirement, is not required to be replaced. However if it is replaced with another wood-fired heating device it must be replaced with a new device that meets current emission standards for new installations. Re-installations of removed devices are not allowed within the Fairbanks Nonattainment area under 18 AAC 50.077.

    There are some exceptions and the ability for temporary waivers under 18 AAC 50.077(h). For more details: Real Estate Requirement: Wood-Fired Heating Device Removal Requirement Exceptions and Request for Temporary Waiver Process

     

    What fireplace inserts may need to be removed?

    Fireplace inserts that may need to be removed are those that are wood or pellet stoves designed to fit inside an existing fireplace. For examples and additional definitions please see: Fireplaces and Fireplace Inserts. Inserts that function as a wood or pellet stove should be EPA-certified.

    For questions regarding a specific insert, please contact Steven Hoke at 907-451-5172.

    The process for temporary waivers or exceptions may be found on this page: Real Estate Requirement: Wood-Fired Heating Device Removal Requirement Exceptions and Request for Temporary Waiver Process

    Removed device - what to do with it? Process for Disposing Old Devices


    What Wood-Fired Heating Devices Can Stay?

    In determining whether a wood-fired heating device can stay the following lists should be reviewed. These lists are divided by emission standards and dates of installation; however, a unit installed before the 2015 dates, listed below, may be re-certified by EPA and appear on the newer list of devices. It is important to check both lists in determining if your heating device can remain on the property.

  • February 28, 2015 for hydronic heaters and large heating devices
  • August 31, 2015 for woodstoves and pellet stoves
  • Devices installed before or during 2015 that meet emission standards up to 7.5 g/hr:

  • List of EPA-Certified Wood Stoves (PDF 535K) (list includes certified fireplace inserts)
  •  
  • List of EPA-Certified Pellet Stoves (PDF)
  •  
  • List of Phase 2 "White Tag" Hydronic Heaters (PDF) (up to 0.32 lbs/MMBtu)
  • Devices installed after or during 2015 that meet emission standards up to  2.5 g/hr:

  • List of EPA-Certified Wood Stoves (PDF 741K) (list includes certified fireplace inserts)
  •  
  • List of EPA-Certified Pellet Stoves (PDF 558K)
  •  
  • List of EPA-Certified Hydronic Heaters (PDF)(0.32 lbs/MMBtu and 2.5 g/hr)
  • This requirement does not affect these types of devices:

  • Fireplaces (without inserts)*
  • Masonry Heaters*
  • Oil-Fired Heaters
  • Gas-Fired Heaters
  • Coal-Fired Heaters
  • *For examples and definitions, please see:
    Fireplaces and Fireplace Inserts.

     

    Where

     

    This requirement only affects real estate transactions located inside the Fairbanks North Star Borough PM2.5 Nonattainment Area. (PDF)

    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 requirement.

    FNSB PM2.5 NA Boundary Map

     

    Regulations and State Air Quality Plan (SIP)

     

    The regulation requirements are contained in 18 AAC 50.077 Standards for wood-fired heating devices (PDF) and in the State Air Quality Plan (SIP) Section III.D.05.10.05.02 (PDF 518K) (see page 4 of the PDF) adopted by reference in 18 AAC 50.030 State air quality plan (PDF).

    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 requirement. DEC's responses to the public's concerns are addressed in the 2013 Response to Comments (PDF) (see page 36) and 2014 Response to Comments (PDF) (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) (PDF)) requires states to adopt contingency measures as part of their air quality plans for Nonattainment Areas. These requirements 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 requirement affecting property transactions that goes into effect immediately and another requiring registration of commercial wood sellers that will go into effect after a 60 day public notice period. These requirements are designed to help improve air quality in the Nonattainment Area. 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 call: 907-451-5172.

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

     

    Frequent Questions

     

    Q: Can I modify my multi-fuel heating device by disabling the wood fired portion to comply with the removal/replacement requirement of 18 AAC 50.077?

    A: No, it is not possible to guarantee that the wood portion of the device is fully decommissioned without the possibility of being recommissioned/repaired. Therefore, the Department would only consider granting a temporary waiver in order to help with the eventual transition to either a compliant wood fired device or a non-wood burning device.

     

    Q: What should I do if my device is not listed in the DEC approved device lists, but I believe it meets the regulatory requirements?

    A: Please see this webpage for more information: Real Estate Requirement: Wood-Fired Heating Device Removal Requirement Exceptions and Request for Temporary Waiver Process

     

    Q: What must I submit to apply for a temporary waiver?

    A: Please see this webpage for more information: Real Estate Requirement: Wood-Fired Heating Device Removal Requirement Exceptions and Request for Temporary Waiver Process

     

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

    A: Fireplaces - No. This requirement 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 requirement 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 (PDF). 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


    In an effort to provide information about requirements before they are activated, DEC has reached out to Elected Officials and Real Estate Professionals. See documents below:

  • May 17, 2016 - Letter to Elected Officials (PDF)
  • May 19, 2016 - Letter to Real Estate Professionals (PDF)
  • December 23, 2016 - 2nd Letter to Real Estate Professionals (PDF)
  • May 12, 2017 - Letter to Elected Officials (PDF)
  • May 11, 2017 - 3rd Letter to Real Estate Professionals (PDF)