Air quality officials in the San Francisco Bay Area want to stop property owners from selling or renting their homes with wood-burning fireplaces.
The Bay Area Quality Management District has also proposed a ban on all wood-burning devices in new construction, starting Nov. 1. Open-hearth fireplaces are already banned from new construction.
Home sellers would be able to comply with the proposed regulations by disabling their wood-burning fireplaces or retrofitting them with Environmental Protection Agency-approved inserts that filter out particulates from chimney-bound smoke. They also can replace them with cleaner-burning gas models. Depending on the home and the retrofit, the cost to the homeowner could range from a few hundred dollars to $3,000, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
Smoke from wood fireplaces worsens air pollution, which in the Bay Area, regularly reaches unhealthy levels, officials said. The district issued 23 high-pollution alerts between November and March of last year—days when wood burning is prohibited.