OMB reviews pre-rule related to 2015 residential wood heater rule

By Erin Voegele | August 14, 2018

On Aug. 10, the U.S. EPA delivered a pre-rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget related to a 2015 rule that set performance standards for new residential wood heaters, hydronic heaters and forced-air furnaces. This is the second time in August the EPA has delivered a proposal pertaining to the 2015 rule to the OMB.

The EPA finalized a rule in February 2015 that made revisions to new source performance standards (NSPS) for new residential wood heaters. The rule updated 1988 NSPS to reflect advancements in wood heater technologies and design. It also broadened the range of residential wood-heating applications covered by the regulation.

The 2015 rule requires manufactures to redesign wood heaters to be cleaner and lower emitting. These improvements also make the heaters perform better and increase efficiency. The action applied to adjustable burn rate wood heaters, pellet stoves, single burn rate wood heaters, outdoor hydronic heaters, indoor hydronic heaters, wood-fired forced air furnaces, and masonry heaters.

The standards finalized in 2015 phase in over a five-year period. For woodstoves, pellet stoves and hydronic heaters, the rule is being phased in in two steps, with the first set of requirements in effect May 15, 2015 and the second limit taking effect in 2020. For wood-fired forced air furnaces, the final rule required wood practice standards beginning on the effective date of the rule, with emissions limits phased in in two steps between 2016/2017 and 2020, to give manufacturers the time they need to develop cleaner models and conduct emissions testing. Small forced air furnaces were required to meet step one emissions limits by 2016. Large forced air furnaces were given an extra year to meet step one requirements, with compliance required in 2017. All forced air furnaces are required to meet the step two emissions limit by 2020.

The rule also streamline the process for testing new model lines by allowing the use of ISO-accredited laboratories and certified bodies, which expands the number of facilities that can be used for testing and certification of the new model lines.

According to information published on the OMB website, EPA’s pre-rule aims to solicit comments on issued raised by the industry with regard to the 2015 final rule.

Alternatively, a proposed rule delivered to the OMB earlier in August proposes “to allow retailers a period of time after the May 2020 compliance date to sell units that were manufactured before the May 2020 compliance date,” according to information released by the OMB.  

Additional information on the pre-rule is available on the OMB website.