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 New DEC wood furnace regulations

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LarryWNY
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PostSubject: New DEC wood furnace regulations   Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:36 am

BUFFALO, NY - The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is about to enact regulations to ensure that new outdoor wood furnaces burn at least 90 percent cleaner than older models.

According to the Attorney General there were over 14,000 sold in New York between 1999 and 2007.

The furnaces burn wood to heat water to a high temperature, which is then pumped into a home and used as a heat source.

But as the popularity of outdoor wood furnaces rose, so did concerns about air quality.

Many towns enacted moratoriums on them, until the DEC came out with its long awaited new rules.

Ray Pionessa of Country Woodburners in Newstead sells the units, and notes the models currently available to consumers must meet standards set forth by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. However, the new regulations would also only allow models certified by the DEC to be sold in New York State.

Pionessa, who gave testimony on the new regulations during a public hearing held this past summer, is relieved the DEC has revised an earlier proposal that would have forced many homeowners to replace older wood furnaces. After that plan was met with strong opposition in rural areas where wood-fired boilers are common, existing systems were grandfathered in.

"We received a lot of phone calls from customers wanting to know what was going to happen with their units and whether it would be seized from them or if they would have to buy new ones because they invested a lot of money in them," Pionessa said.

It is not uncommon for a homeowner to spend $10,000 or more on the purchase and installation of a unit, which under the right circumstances can pay for itself in perhaps five or 6 years.

Ron Mays of Lancaster estimates he's saved a few thousand dollars on heating bills since installing his outdoor wood furnace three years ago, but he admits it isn't for everyone.

He has to load his furnace twice a day, and also happens to be blessed with an inexhaustible supply of free wood.

"My brother's got a tree service so I get all the wood from him," he explained.

Were that not the case, Mays concedes he probably wouldn't heat his home in this fashion.

"I don't think it'd be worth it," Mays told WGRZ-TV.

The new regulations also require furnace smokestacks to be at least 18-feet tall.

This is an effort to reduce the amount of smoke effecting neighbors of those who use wood furnaces.

However, Pionessa says it's a rule that doesn't make much sense to him.

"It all depends on the weather conditions. I mean, sure, smoke generally travels up ...but on other days when you have a heavy air, the smoke is coming right to the ground no matter what you have," he said.

The most controversial new regulation may be the ban on operating the furnaces between May and September.

Peter Gregg of the New York Farm Bureau says his group will continue to fight the new regulations, in part because they restrict furnace use to cold months, and because many residents rely on wood boilers year-round for hot water as well as heat.

Because of this Pionessa says most of his customers retain a backup system of heat for their homes even after installing an outdoor wood furnace.

Mays, for example, while using his outdoor wood furnace for hot water as well as heat, maintains natural gas service to his residence not only to heat his water tank during the summer, but to supply his clothes dryer and kitchen stove year round as well.

But the seasonal use rule remains particularly troublesome to homeowners with wood furnaces in the Adirondacks and New York's North Country , where nights remain cool enough --sometimes into June -- to require residents to heat their homes.

The DEC acknowledges that, for now at least, there is no exception to the rule for any unusual streaks of cold weather.



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PostSubject: DEC link to Express Terms Summary 6 NYCRR Parts 200 and 247   Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:34 pm

DEC link to Express Terms Summary 6 NYCRR Parts 200 and 247

http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64492.html


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