Truckee mandates wood burning units be efficient |

Truckee mandates wood burning units be efficient

David Bunker, Tribune News Service

TRUCKEE – If all goes according to plan, Truckee will be free of air-polluting wood stoves and fireplace inserts by July 15, 2006.

The Truckee Town Council ordinance approved last week should provide for plenty of time to educate the public on the policy and work out the details of enforcement, which would likely include inspections or registration.

Truckee homeowners who do not remove non-complying stoves and fireplaces by the deadline would face a first offense fine of up to $1,000. Town planner Duane Hall projected that it would cost a household $300 to remove a stove and from $1,500 to $3,000 to replace it with an approved appliance.

Zero-clearance units, which are manufactured fireplaces, and open masonry fireplaces are not required to be removed. Wood stoves and non-approved fireplace inserts, mostly those 15-years-old and older, are the appliances that must be removed.

The ordinance comes more than a month after the town increased its rebates for stove removal and replacement. Those removing an unapproved appliance can receive up to $300 (up from $176), those removing and replacing the appliance with a pellet-fueled heater or gas stove can receive up to $500 (up from $276), and Southwest Gas will award an additional $200 if a replacement gas appliance is served by the gas company.

Hall estimated that there would be about 1,500 wood stoves and fireplace units that would be affected by the policy. A larger portion of these units are likely to be in low-income homes, he added, and some may be a primary source of heat for the home.

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Anticipating the issues that stove removal may cause, town staff has proposed low-interest loans and other financial resources be made available to qualifying homes.