Proposal may require homeowners to remove wood-burning fireplaces

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Bay Area Air Quality District managers are looking at a controversial plan that will require homeowners to remove their wood-burning fireplaces before selling their homes.

Bay Area Air Quality District managers are looking at a controversial plan to require homeowners to get rid of their wood-burning fireplaces. It may be good for the environment, but the real estate community says it would be a very bad idea for business.

The Bay Area Air Quality District claims that wood burning pollution is the number one source of pollution in the winter time.

The Contra Costa Association of Realtors is fighting mad about a plan that could require wood-burning fireplaces to be removed or converted before a home could be sold.

"Whether it's the federal government, state or local agencies, government authorities, they're trying to put and find solutions to their problems on the backs of a real estate transaction and it's not right," Contra Costa Association of Realtors spokesperson Rob Baldwin said.

The proposal is coming out of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which is looking at creating an ordinance that would require a home seller to make the change before a sale.

"Wood smokes very detrimental to people's health, indoors and outside the home. So the air district is looking to get input as to how we can further tighten down the rules," Air District Board member Mark Ross said.

"Initially, you're going to have to run a gas line to the fire place," Buck Stove Center store manager Mike Wells said.

He says the cost to replace a wood-burning fireplace ranges from about $400 for a log set to as much as $6,000 for a full insert.

"We've got new technologies coming into place today that makes it very realistic looking. And definitely efficiency-wise, were talking in the high 70s, low 80 efficiency, compared to an open fireplace that's about 5 percent efficient," Wells said.

The Bay Area Air Quality District will hold a series of public workshops, starting Wednesday in Santa Clara.

The board is expected to act one way or the other by the end of this year.
Related Topics:
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