Hearth Insight
Feb. 2020
President's Message
By: Scott H. Ongley, NWHPBA President

Times of Transition
 I would like to apologize for not addressing the membership sooner on the many changes NWHPBA has gone through this past year. Early last year the NWHPBA Board of Directors began to transition many of the officers either off the Board, changed positions within the board as well, and also installing many new members onto the board. It was clear once the dust settled on the new board that more changes would need to take place for our membership and Association strength to grow.

 We as a board and with much input from membership felt that we also needed to look at our Association Management. We spent four months requesting bids and interviewing several different management firms that had the potential to help NWHPBA grow. We came to a final decision in Sept of 2019 to hire AMI Assoc. Mgmt. out of Gig Harbor, Wa.. As a full time Management Firm AMI has a team of professionals that include Assoc. Management, Social Media, Graphic Arts, Financing/Accounting, Membership and Special Events Planning. They all work as a team for all their clients which gives NWHPBA a fantastic in depth team at a much reduced cost.

Our new Executive Director from AMI is Mrs. Amy Ohlinger. Amy has been busy reaching out to many of you for membership and other business. Amy traveled to Washington DC in October along with myself and Tim Reed our Region 9 Nat’l rep for the National HPBA Board of Directors meeting and was quickly baptized into the world of Hearth!

The Membership and Board of Directors of NWHPBA would like to Thank Leah Hauer for her many years of service and dedication to our Association and the many countless hours spent watchdogging our industry. Thank you, Leah, from the bottom of our hearts!

Looking Ahead
The Board of Directors is very excited for our future and we will be unveiling several new things that we have been working on, over the coming weeks and months. Stay Tuned!

We currently have a three open Board vacancies and are looking for some fresh new faces to join the Board and bring new and fresh ideas to the table.

Specifically I would like to ask Store Owners and managers that if they have a bright and outgoing Salesperson or Staff member that they would like to see advance their knowledge within the industry and give something back to our industry through being a Board Member, please reach out to any of us and give us their and contact info. The commitment is small and the rewards are great. I joined the OHPBA Board my first year and I have to say it really kick started my career being able to view the whole industry from the eyes of other stores, distributors and manufacturers point of view.

The annual Spring Conference will be held in two different locations this year! We will be having one in the Sea-Tac area on May 4 th as well as another a few days later in Post Falls, Idaho on May 7 th .. In setting the venues this way we are excited to be able to have more attendees from Montana and Idaho. The Board has been trying for years how we can bring more members to our meetings. Please mark your calendars and make this Eastern conference a huge success! 

EXPO 2020
This year’s HPBExpo will be held in New Orleans once again! What a fabulous city to be able to visit-the history and food cannot be beat. This year’s dates of show are March 12th-14 th with two days of education prior on the 10 th and 11 th . I know it is always an expense to go to EXPO, however there is no single place better to shop for new lines and check out your competition’s products. If you could take just one employee with you each year, you would watch that employee blossom and feel a part of our great industry. Due to the needs of outdoor burn areas, being able to burn indoors, and square footage requirements needed on show floor it has really limited HPBA National on where they will be able to hold future Expo’s. Unfortunately, West Coast shows will be few and far between. So, start planning now to tuck a few dollars away early and prepare to travel for the next few years. But remember it will always be an investment that pays great dividends! We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans this March! Don’t forget our Welcome Party for the West Coast Affiliates on Wednesday Night after you arrive in Town!!

May 15 th , 2020 !!!!
Just a friendly reminder that the deadline for selling off 2020 Non-Compliant EPA woodstoves is quickly approaching! Basically, we have 2 ½ months before are non 2020 EPA certified stoves must be OFF your showroom floors. They will be policing this, and the fines are not light. Work with your reps, mfg’s and dealers to help minimize your stove count. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Remember selling them for cost is better than not being able to sell them at ALL!!!! Deadline is and will be May 15 th , 2020.

Till next month, Take Care and Keep the Fires Burning!!!
Member Spotlight:
Chimney Techniques, Inc.
By: Ryann Blake, Owner of Chimney Techniques, NWHPBA Secretary
  • Company Name: Chimney Techniques, Inc.
  • Company Birth Date: 1985
  • NWHPBA Member Type: Retailer
  • Size of store/showroom sq feet: 2,000
  • Number of total employees/installers/service techs/sales/sweep: 7
What do you do to separate your business from others?
  • I think of my business as a lifestyle company rather than a product-based company. I firmly embrace the Danish idea of hygge and try to infuse it into every part of my business. Our showroom is designed for creating coziness, our company culture is relaxed and fun. Hygge is a lifestyle we help create for our customers and a guiding principle for how we operate.

What diversifies your business, product wise?
  • Fall and Winter dominate with hearth products. We added some home goods like candles and blankets to up the cozy factor and provide some gift like accessories. Spring and Summer are geared towards Spas and BBQs to create the same joy in their outdoor spaces as we have with their indoors. For a little extra fun we have added a line of coolers to our BBQ section.

What are customers telling you when they come in the shop.
  • How cozy it is! 

What trends do you see the next year?
  •  Our area is historically 3-5 years behind current trends. Linears are just starting to become something people are asking about. For us, I think cleaner lines and simplicity will be a big win in all hearth products.
How long have you been in the hearth business?
  • 4 ½ years

What got you started in hearth business?
  •  I was born into it -- My dad started the business the year before I was born.

What has kept you in the hearth business?
  •  It is hard for a home to be warm & cozy without a hearth of some sort. Helping to create that cozy feeling for people is what stokes my fire!

What advice would you give to other women in the industry?
  • Ask questions and get involved! This isn’t an industry you can sit back and figure out by Googling. Ask questions of the techs and installers to understand the why and hows of the job. Ask the reps and seek out people from similar shops to learn different ways of doing things. Always be learning.  

Why are you a member of NWHPBA?
  •  To be involved. Seeing what is happening in Government Affairs helps me keep a pulse on the industry. Attending events introduces new ideas and products every year. The networking has been a great benefit as well, I have met some incredible people at HPBA events. It has opened quite a few doors for me.

Why do you like attending NWHPBA/HPBA events?
  • The education and new ideas I learn from the annual meeting and Expo have helped me grow my business tremendously. Every event I have attended left me walking away with a new nugget of information.        

What’s your favorite NWHPBA memory?
  •  I absolutely LOVE Expo and look forward to it like a vacation. At the end of busy season, Expo always re-energizes me with new ideas for the next season. My team is always a little concerned about what hair brained idea I will come back with.

Fun Facts about Ryann:
  • Favorite movie? American Outlaws
  • First car? Mazda MX-3
  • First concert? Garth Brooks  
NWHPBA will get through Legislative Sessions Unscathed but
Faces Local and Regulatory Challenges
By: Carolyn Logue

As the 2020 Legislative Sessions wind down, NWHPBA is breathing a sigh of relief that no major woodstove or gas appliance bills passed. However, we are seeing more aggressive moves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State and the State of Alaska is considering a climate change workgroup.

In Washington, as of the time of this writing, we are waiting to see if the Legislature will pass a bill giving Department of Ecology greater authority to demand reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. On the woodstove side, we are comfortable that this will not interfere with our existing woodstove standards law, but on the gas appliance side, we are concerned this could lead to more aggressive standards for natural gas which could lead to more local or even statewide restrictions on the use of natural gas.

We are also watching the supplemental budget discussions in Washington state. Most importantly is the retention of the $2 million for woodstove changeout programs. Next year, with nearly $2 billion in new money available for the budgets, we are hoping to increase that amount.

For more information on what is happening in the Washington State Legislature click HERE.

Washington state is also facing several local bans on natural gas in new construction. Bellingham’s City Council is the furthest along with hearings and proposals put forward last fall. Everett held hearings and discussions in November and December but seems to be backing away from a ban. The City of Seattle also had a proposal last summer that fizzled out after the sponsor did not run for re-election. NWHPBA has had members testifying and attending these hearings. Daniel Hammer, Edward Hosack, Troy Olson, Ryan Thramer, and others have been manning the meetings and hearings at the local level.

Seattle is gearing up again though. The City of Seattle Construction Codes Advisory Board has been having meetings to discuss changes to both the residential code and the building code in the City of Seattle. Since it is the legislative session, we were hoping things would stay quiet for a while, but it looks like the City of Seattle is talking about banning new natural gas HVAC equipment at least in commercial buildings. According to staff at the City of Seattle, a website is being developed that will have information regarding language changes. Information regarding the Construction Codes Advisory Board and future meetings is linked  HERE .

In addition, Councilmember Kshama Sawant (who now chairs the City of Seattle Sustainability and Renter's Rights Committee) has reintroduced Councilmember O’Brien’s proposal to ban new natural gas connections in the city. The proposal is linked   HERE .
NWHPBA Washington State members are actively going to participate in these local battles to stop any proposals that hurt the industry. In addition, NWHPBA is participating in a coalition working to defeat natural gas bans in the region.
In Idaho, legislation has been fairly quiet except for a bill currently moving that adds exceptions to the law requiring those with plumbing licenses to do connections. Billed in the summary as “the first step to eventually eliminating IDAPA, which requires installers to hold a specialty plumbing license to make connections,” the bill seeks to eliminate barriers to licensure, and the need for a license. To make connections from manufactured or mobile home sewer or water facilities to existing sewer or water facilities on site (connections), a person must currently hold a plumbing license or specialty license under title 54, chapter 26, Idaho Code, and an installer license under title 44, chapter 21, Idaho Code. Idaho Code section 54-2601(1) requires connections to be made in accordance with the Uniform Plumbing Code. Idaho Code section 44-2201(1) requires connections to be made in accordance with the manufacturer's approved installation instructions; applicable state laws or rules pertaining to utility connection, such as the Uniform Plumbing Code; and the Idaho Manufactured Home Installation Standard, which contains the same requirements as the Uniform Plumbing Code. This legislation provides an exception from plumbing licensing requirements for installers of manufactured or mobile homes (installers) to make connections and allows installers to obtain permits to make connections. Because installers must make connections in accordance with the same standards as plumbing licensees, there is no need to require installers to obtain a plumbing license or specialty license to make connections.

The state of Alaska has been quiet legislatively on our issues. The only thing that popped up on the Multi-state tracker was a bill (HR 12) that would set up a work group on Climate Change. The bill was supposed to have a hearing in the House, but that hearing was cancelled as of early February. The bill was introduced last year but had some action this session. However, no new action is showing as of this writing.

The State of Montana had some recent excitement. The Missoula City-County Air Pollution Control Board Advisory Council held a hearing on February 20 on amendments to the Air Pollution Control Program that would tighten the requirements for wood heaters. The first proposal added an additional layer to the existing requirement that a stove that exceeds a certain emissions number must be removed upon the sale of a home. Edits under consideration expanded that rule to property that is "sold, transferred or conveyed" in the Air Stagnation Zone (ASZ), and only allowed pellet stoves below those emissions levels -- which vary depending on the testing method used -- to stay. The full APCB Board will have a hearing next.
Another addition would have tightened restrictions on wood stoves in the Seeley Lake area. The proposed rule stated that within the Seeley Lake Wood Stove Zone, the department could only permit solid fuel burning devices whose emissions did not exceed 2.5 grams per hour when tested with cord wood, or 2.0 grams per hour when tested with crib wood, and that are at least 70 percent efficient; a wood-fired hydronic heater or forced-air furnace with particulate matter emissions less than or equal to .15 pounds per million BTU of heat output; and pellet stoves with 70 percent efficiency or greater and 2.0 grams of emissions per hour or less when tested with EPA-compliant methods. 
According to NWHPBA member Guy Hanson, they were going to grandfather in the old which would make it legal to install stoves that were illegal to sell. Instead he suggested that the standard outside the ASZ be the current standard.

Thanks to Guy, NWHPBA was represented at the hearing which turned out to be a contentious but cordial discussion. More discussions will be needed but at this point the following decisions were made:
  • The group voted to forward their desire that open fireplaces in the ASZ be addressed but not how to do it, 
  • They rejected the proposal to replace old stoves in the ASZ
  • They endorsed the proposal that PM emissions be expressed on a heat output basis rather than a heat per unit of time basis (1 g/hr).
  • They endorsed adding language regarding the permissible emissions for the 150,000 to 1 mill BTU/hr automated/SBR devices similar to 9.205 (1)c except reduce the allowable emissions to 0.10 lb/MMBTU and the installation of an ESP (Electrostatic Precipitator or equivalent control device) the same as for Chapter 6.502 equipment between 1 and 10 million BTU.
It is important for NWHPBA members in all of the states to be ready to act when necessary. Many of the proposals we see happen in local areas where you are the front line to changing the direction. The more members are willing to help in their local areas, the stronger the voice of the hearth products industry will be across the Northwest!
Call for Nominations
Are you interested in joining NWHPBA's Board of Directors or getting involved on a committee? Do you have a great employee who would like to get more involved?

We have a number of opportunities for involvement, from providing content for social media and newsletters to helping us plan our Annual Meeting, to participating on the Board. We appreciate any time you can offer to help our association grow! 

Open Board of Director Positions:
  • Western Washington
  • At Large
  • Idaho

Open Committee Positions:
  • Government Affairs Committee Volunteer
  • Membership Committee Volunteer
  • Education & Communications Committee Volunteer
  • Annual Meeting Committee Volunteer
HPBExpo Western States Reception
For more information on the Western States Reception, visit hpbapacific.org or call (626) 237-1200.
Big Win for NWHPBA vs Olympia Codes Council
By: Scott Ongley, NWHPBA President

In early 2019 it was brought to our attention that certain TAG officials were proposing to make all Non Heater rated gas fireplaces (i.e. Decorative Gas Fireplaces) illegal to sell in all new construction or remodel projects in the state of Washington. They were also going after continuous pilot light. Normally these issues would be dealt with through legislative procedures, however this time around the parties used the Codes Council to try and get this passed. Had it not been for our Washington State Lobbyist, Carolyn Logue we may never have known this was happening! Once NWHPBA was made aware of these items, many meetings were called, several grass roots meetings and a plan to fight these issues were formulated. For the main hearings in Spokane and Olympia we cannot thank our members enough for turning out in great numbers to show the Codes Officials the impact these changes would make to our livelihoods and Industry. Once our presence was established and our case was made, a few more meetings and hearings took place where we were able to convince the Codes Council that if they truly want to address these issues it would be in every ones interest to apply the Canadian standards for both Decorative Gas Fireplace Efficiencies and the new Definitions for Pilot Lights in gas fireplaces. I am happy to state that all our hard work and perseverance paid off and the Canadian Standards were accepted!

This issue is a prime example of what our industry we will be facing every year going forward. The attacks on our industry to regulate or get rid of certain products is real! Having Carolyn Logue is truly an asset we can never lose. The importance of our membership and keeping and growing our numbers is a top priority. If you are in a town or city with multiple dealers and some may not be a NWHPBA member, reach out to them and share this close call with them and remind them that it was NWHPBA that fought this battle for them and the future will hit us harder and we need their help! Please let anyone on the Board of Directors know of any dealer or distributor that benefits from our Association and we will contact them for membership.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this fight. We could not have accomplished it without you.
Stoves to Homes Initiative: An Alternative for Step 1 Stoves
By John Crouch | Director - Public Affairs
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

With the May 15, 2020 deadline to sell Step 1 products fast approaching, HPBA remains committed to the fight to obtain some form of sell-through relief. EPA has yet to make a decision on this issue, but the delay has not been encouraging. As we advocate for sell-through, we have been warning HPBA members to prepare for Step 2 and the rest of the original rule to go into effect as published on May 15, 2020. After this date, it will be illegal to sell, offer for sale, or transfer a Step 1 unit.

We are aware that a number of dealers and distributors have cleaned out their inventory or are very close to doing so. However, we have heard of companies that may struggle to clear out their Step 1 inventory by that deadline.

Members of our Mid-Atlantic HPBA – Shannon Good and Kurt Evers – approached HPBA with a unique donation plan for these perfectly good Step 1 stoves. With their help, we have created the “Stoves to Homes Initiative” with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).

While any store can donate any stove to their local non-profit prior to the May 15th deadline, we have created this option for members to donate a number of units, shortly before the deadline, to a nationally recognized program which specializes in rehabilitating substandard housing in several states. The program has also met with the approval of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Prior to May 15th, companies that have unsold free-standing stoves may donate the units – identified by serial number – to ASP. Once ASP has acknowledged the donation, the unit is labeled as “SOLD” and belonging to ASP. The product can then be stored in a warehouse for a reasonable period of time until ASP is ready for delivery.

Functionally, this is similar to a Step 1 stove that has been sold to a consumer for installation later in the season. Dealers can set any value on their donation, including the unit value and associated freight costs. HPBA and NFI will work with ASP to make certain the units are safely installed.

HPBA is trying to gauge those interested in being involved in the Stoves to Homes Initiative. At this point, all we need is an expression of interest so that ASP can begin assessing homes for these units. ASP will only be able to accept free-standing woodstove units – inserts and pellet stoves are beyond their scope. They are also not familiar with brands or models, so it is important that you indicate the approximate size of the heater (i.e., small, medium, or large).
Once we compile a list of interested dealers and distributors, we will be back in touch. If we see a lot of stoves in other parts of the country, we will look for similar programs in the regions with the most interest.

HPBA hopes that everyone will sell all your Step 1 units, but we have worked out the details of this wonderful idea to help you avoid having stranded products should you still have inventory as the deadline approaches. Remember, not only will EPA be making enforcement visits, but many states may make enforcement visit as well, so you must be in full compliance by May 15, 2020. Stoves to Homes offers one more way to help ensure that you are covered.

If you would like to participate, please email the following info to governmentaffairs@hpba.org :

  • Complete contact info, including store address;
  • Number of free-standing woodstoves that might be available in May; and
  • The approximate size of each of the stoves.

Again, providing a response to us is not an absolute commitment, just an expression of interest; we hope you sell them all.
Committee Updates
NWHPBA Committee Updates:
  • Membership Committee
  • Membership reminder mailers have been mailed to all 2019 NWHPBA members
  • 2020 Members can expect their Membership Packets in the next 30-60 days
  • Questions about 2020 Membership? Call 253-525-5153 or email nwhpba@aminc.org and we will get you taken care of
  • Renew/Join Here
  • Education & Communications
  • We are excited to be distributing monthly newsletters at the end of the month
  • Do you have an idea for an article? Email nwhpba@aminc.org
  • Be sure you follow us on Facebook
  • Annual Meeting
  • 2 Annual Meetings will be offered to allow members from the East Side of the mountains another option
  • Registration for Annual Meetings, Golf, and Reception will be opening up in March
  • Interested in sponsoring? Please email nwhpba@aminc.org
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