What You Need To Know About Installing Wood, Pellet, and Gas Stoves in Washoe County

For further assistance or questions regarding the Wood Burning Device Program please contact us at

EPA Step 2 Wood-burning Device Standards for Real Estate Transactions and New Installations &/or Replacements, effective 5/15/2020:

  • EPA certified woodstoves, inserts, or pellet stoves manufactured on/after 5/15/2020; or
  • EPA certified woodstoves, inserts, or pellet stoves manufactured before 5/15/2020 but with an emission limit of 2.5 g/hr or less.
For more information on EPA's 2020 New Source Performance Standards for Residential Wood Heaters go to https://www.epa.gov/residential-wood-heaters/final-2020-new-source-performance-standards-residential-wood-heaters.

Wood stoves and fireplaces are regulated by the Washoe County Health District because they are major contributors to air pollution in the Truckee Meadows. Therefore before you make a purchase, it is important for you to spend some time researching whether it is legal to place a wood burning appliance in your home.

  • No matter where you live in Washoe County, you can install a gas-fired stove or the cleanest burning pellet stove.
  • To find out if you can install a wood burning stove or fireplace in your home, follow these steps:
    1. What is the size of your property? The regulation stipulates that installation shall not exceed one on a minimum one-acre parcel.
    2. For installation in the Tahoe/Incline area, first check with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

To find out the size of your property, you must contact the Washoe County Assessor's Office.

Fireplaces and certified wood stoves are allowed in areas where homes are placed on larger lots so that density does not add to air pollution problems in Washoe County.

Why is it even an issue whether or not a wood burning appliance is used?

The Truckee Meadows has been dealing with air pollution for many, many years. The two major contributors to air pollution in the winter are motor vehicles and wood burning. There are regulations that require cars to be smog tested, and regulations to reduce wood burning. One of the regulations limits the wood burning appliances that can be put in high-density residential areas.

Over the years, gas stoves have greatly improved in both heating ability and ambiance. The days of gas logs that just look pretty in the fireplace are over! If you are planning to build a large home, and would like more than one heating device, we suggest that you consider clean-burning gas or low-emitting pellet stoves, especially since there is no limit to the number you can place in one home.

When it comes to wood stoves and fireplaces, even if your property meets the lot size requirements to have an appliance, only one can be installed. FOR RE-SALE OF PROPERTY THAT CONTAINS A WOOD BURNING DEVICE, AN INSPECTION MUST BE COMPLETED BY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING WOOD BURNING DEVICE INSPECTORS. For installation in the Tahoe/Incline area, you must contact the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Important contact information

Washoe County Health District Air Quality Management 775-784-7200

Washoe County Assessor 775-328-2277

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency 775-588-4547