Fireplaces. They are beautiful. They warm our houses, and in the cold of the holidays they make us feel safe. Who doesn't like to sit by a crackling fire? Some say that watching a fire lowers your blood pressure.
However, residential wood burning is the leading source of wintertime air pollution in the Bay Area and studies have shown that there are significant health impacts from exposure to fine particulate matter found in wood smoke.
So now we have an additional disclosure in the real estate transaction process.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (“BAAQMD”) established the Wood Burning Devices (Wood Smoke Rule), Regulation 6, Rule 3 to reduce wintertime smoke pollution and protect public health.
The Wood Smoke Rule requires anyone selling, renting or leasing a property in the Bay Area to disclose the potential health impacts from air pollution caused from burning wood. Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, can travel deep into the respiratory system, bypass the lungs and enter the blood stream. Exposure may cause short term and long term health effects, including eye, nose and throat irritation, reduced lung function, asthma, heart attacks, chronic bronchitis, cancer and premature deaths. Exposure to fine particulates can worsen existing respiratory conditions. High PM2.5 levels are associated with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits, and even deaths. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions are most at risk from negative health effects of PM2.5 exposure.
The Buyer should consult with a licensed professional to inspect, properly maintain, and operate a wood burning stove or fireplace insert according to manufacturer’s specifications to help reduce wood smoke pollution. The Air District encourages the use of cleaner and more efficient, non-wood burning heating options such as gas-fueled or electric fireplace inserts to help reduce emissions and exposure to fine particulates.
When the BAAQMD issues a Winter Spare the Air Alert during the winter season from November 1 through the end of February, it is illegal to burn wood, manufactured fire logs, pellets or any solid fuels in fireplaces, wood stoves or outdoor fire pits. To check when a Winter Spare the Air Alert is issued, please call 1-877-4NO-BURN or visit www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org.
Brokers do not provide advice pertaining to legal, accounting or Building Code compliance. Parties are to consult with experts in these fields, if they have questions or concerns