Wood-fired boilers

Wood-fired boilerOutdoor wood-fired boilers, when not operated properly, can violate Colorado’s air quality smoke regulation and can be a nuisance. In addition to the state regulation, county and municipal regulations may also apply. Owners or operators of wood-fired boilers should check with their local governments prior to purchasing or installing these units.
Numerous studies show serious adverse health effects from breathing wood smoke. Wood smoke contains fine particles, which can affect both the lungs and the heart. In some areas, especially during the winter months, residential wood smoke can be a significant source of fine particle pollution.
Burn Clean
To minimize smoke from a wood-fired boiler, operators should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation and use of the device. Some tips to reduce emissions include:
  • When purchasing a wood-fired boiler, make sure it carries an EPA “Phase 2 Qualified” white tag. These devices are about 90 percent cleaner than unqualified models. New federal rules will require all wood-fired boilers to meet stricter emissions standards beginning in 2016 before they can be sold by retailers.
  • Do not burn wet or green logs. Wet or green logs do not burn efficiently and produce more smoke. Properly seasoned fuel is processed in the spring and stacked in an area open to sun and wind for the summer to allow for adequate drying.
  • Use wood cut to the correct length and split to the correct range of sizes for the appliance. Having wood the right size makes it easy to build clean-burning and longer lasting fires.
  • Build small, hot fires. A smoldering fire is not a safe or efficient fire.
  • Do not burn trash, treated wood, particleboard, plywood, or other fuels. Burning these types of fuels is not legal under Colorado’s regulation.
Report Violations
A wood-fired boiler may violate the state opacity standard if the smoke emitted is greater than 20 percent opacity under Colorado Air Quality Control Commission Regulation No. 1. Emissions opacity is the degree to which visibility of a background is reduced by particles (smoke). State statutes allow penalties up to $15,000 per day of violation.
  • Suspected violations may be reported to the Air Pollution Control Division’s Field Services Unit
    Phone: (303) 692-3150
More Information