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Residential Wood Burning

Outdoor Wood Boilers

What are outdoor wood boilers (OWBs)?

A smoking outdoor wood boiler

OWBs (also known as outdoor hydronic heaters) are fuel burning devices (1) designed to burn wood or other fuels; (2) that the manufacturer specifies for outdoor installation or installation in structures not normally occupied by humans; and (3) that are used to heat building space and/or water through the distribution, typically through pipes, of a gas or liquid (e.g., water or water/antifreeze mixture) heated in the device. A typical unit looks like a small metal storage shed with a stack. OWBs can also be used to heat swimming pools, greenhouses, milk rooms, etc.

What are the health effects due to inhalation of smoke from an OWB?

Wood smoke contains fine particulate matter (PM) which can cause short-term effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine PM also can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma, allergies and heart disease. Long term exposure to fine PM may increase the risk from chronic bronchitis, reduce lung function and increase mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. In addition, wood smoke contains known human carcinogens including benzene, formaldehyde, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Check the NYS Department of Health links under "Links Leaving DEC's Website" for more information regarding health impacts from the inhalation of wood smoke.

Are you being impacted by a neighbor's OWB?

How are OWBs regulated in New York?

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted 6 NYCRR Part 247 (link leaves DEC's website) on December 29, 2010.

  • There are numerous municipal laws enacted across the state regarding OWBs. Check with your town clerk to see if such a law was enacted in your town. Laws enacted by local governments may be stricter than Part 247.

Who must comply with Part 247?

Requirements for OWB Owners

Requirements for OWB Manufacturers

Requirements for OWB Distributors (those who sell OWBs)

Indoor Wood Stoves

New indoor wood stoves are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) through a New Source Performance Standard (40 CFR 60, Subpart AAA). For more information, visit the USEPA's Wood Heater Compliance Monitoring Program site using the link under "Links Leaving DEC's Website."

Fireplaces and Fireplace Inserts

The USEPA has a voluntary program regarding fireplaces and fireplace inserts. For more information, visit the USEPA's Burn Wise - List of Approved Appliances site using the link under "Links Leaving DEC's Website."

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