Prior to selling a home with any wood-burning fireplace insert or free-standing wood stove, homeowners anywhere in the jurisdiction of the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District must ensure that these devices meet the requirements of Air District rule 4901: Wood-Burning Fireplaces and Wood-Burning Heaters.

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Air pollution rules require that most older, dirtier wood stoves and inserts must be removed from a home and destroyed before the home is sold or ownership is transferred. Devices that can be left in a home upon sale or transfer include: fireplaces, stoves or inserts manufactured to meet EPA emissions standards, pellet stoves, inserts and devices fueled exclusively by natural gas or propane, and wood-burning heaters that have been rendered permanently inoperable. 

Home sellers must remove and permanently render inoperable any wood-burning heater or fireplace insert that is non-pellet or does not meet EPA July 1990 emission standards. If your stove needs to be removed, contact a chimney sweep or hearth products dealer. 

Statement of Compliance Required 

A home seller whose property includes any type of wood-burning stove or insert must submit to the Valley Air District and to the home buyer a Statement of Compliance. These forms are available at or at the nearest Air District office. 

NOTE: There are NO exemptions to this requirement, and it applies to ALL real estate transactions within the Valley Air District. This includes real estate owned by banks or other financial institutions (known as REO properties). 

The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the Valley air basin portions of Kern. It is up to the home seller to determine if the property is within the jurisdiction of the Air District. To search an address by zip code, see the California Air Resources Board website, dislookup/dislookup.php, or contact the Air District for more information. 

Is Your Stove or Insert EPA Certified? 

All new wood stoves and inserts manufactured after July 1, 1990, or sold after July 1, 1992, are required to meet EPA Phase II certification. To determine if your heater is in compliance, check the owners’ manual or the retail store where you purchased the stove. An EPA-certified wood stove also can be identified by a temporary paper label attached to the front of the stove and a permanent, metal label on the back or side. If the label is missing or inaccessible, the EPA maintains a list of certified stoves at: monitoring/caa/woodstoves/certifiedwood.pdf. 

Residential wood burning is the source of up to one-third of the air basin's dangerous particulate emissions during winter. Particulate matter (PM) has been associated with serious health problems including bronchitis, lung infections, coronary attacks and even lung cancer. 

Note: It is illegal to sell or install a non-EPA Phase II stove or insert unless it is a pellet-fueled heater. A home seller who would like to keep an old stove for its decorative value should contact the District for guidance on permanently disabling the device. 

For more information, contact the nearest District office (Fresno, 559-230-6000; Modesto, 209-557-6400; Bakersfield, 661-392-5500).