Environmental Protection Agency Considers Regulation of Masonry Fireplace Emissions

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is currently revising the 20-year old New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new residential wood heaters. The existing NSPS exempted masonry fireplaces as decorative elements. Revisions to the NSPS may include site-built masonry fireplaces. The EPA and industry have created a test and certification program for appliances that burn wood; including wood stoves, wood boilers and wood burning fireplaces. By 2012, wood burning fireplaces will, with all likelihood, be required to meet new NSPS projected emissions of 5.1 grams of particulate matter per each kilogram of wood burned (g/kg).


Fireplaces not meeting this standard will not be legally constructed should these emission levels be established. EPA estimates establish current masonry fireplace emission levels at approximately 10-15 g/kg. ASTM E2558 sets parameters for the emission testing of low mass and site-built masonry fireplaces.



Presently the EPA is working with small industry representatives as required by Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act to gather comments and hear the concerns of small businesses that will be affected by this revision. The Brick Industry Association, Clay Flue Lining Institute, Masonry Contractors Association of America, Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association and others are involved in this process, representing the views of their small business constituents. The outcome of this dialogue and NSPS revision is not certain.



However, in anticipation of regulations limiting the emission levels of site built masonry fireplaces and for your customers desiring a clean burning masonry fireplace, Whitacre Greer has become a distributor of HearthCAT catalytic emission control technology for site-built masonry fireplaces. HearthCAT units, described in the accompanying brochure and insert, are easily installed. Fireplaces utilizing HearthCAT technology have tested emissions of 4.3 g/kg – within the proposed limits of the NSPS revision.


HearthCAT units will soon be available for pickup with firebrick at Whitacre Greer.