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Debating on a build - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Debating on a build

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  • Debating on a build

    I've been contemplating building a 36" oven in my backyard for a few years now. I finally decided to pull the trigger a few weeks ago now that my wife and I have decided we'll be in our current home for awhile. I called my local county Building & Safety to see if I need to submit a plan, and if my project would require to be Permitted. His response was that a permanent wood burning structure is not allowed in our county because of regulations from our local Air Pollution Control District.

    Our conversation ended by basically him saying if my oven was portable and I used on approved "Burn Days" I should be fine. I know this is a personal decision, but what have others done in a similar situation? What happens if I continue my build. I was planning on purchasing the Pompeii90 Kit for my build because I cant afford the cost of an assembled oven and stand. My plan was to chip away at my build as my budget allowed.

    Has anyone else decided to just build it and see what happens?



  • #2
    Re: Debating on a build

    Ok, I started to write a response and while doing so did some research, so here is what I found. The regs are listed at this link: http://www.valleyair.org/rules/currntrules/r4901.pdf They list that Cookstoves, as defined in Federal Regs under 60.531, are exempt. So, here is the def of a cookstove:
    Cookstove means a wood-fired appliance
    that is designed primarily for
    cooking food and that has the following
    (1) An oven, with a volume of 0.028
    cubic meters (1 cubic foot) or greater,
    and an oven rack,
    (2) A device for measuring oven temperatures,
    (3) A flame path that is routed
    around the oven,
    (4) A shaker grate,
    (5) An ash pan,
    (6) An ash clean-out door below the
    oven, and
    (7) The absence of a fan or heat channels
    to dissipate heat from the appliance.
    Now, a Pompeii does not include all of these features, but I think that if there was truly an issue raised, you could argue that some of the features would actually make the oven less efficient and that the oven is cleanest burning when it's temperature is high. There are a number of regs against outdoor fireplaces, but really that is not what you are building. You are constructing an outdoor oven, which will be used for cooking food, and not for pure enjoyment or heat production.

    So, here is what I would do. Do not use the oven on non-burn days if you can help it. Keep your neighbors happy. Print out the regs and defs and keep them handy in case you need to justify what it is that you have.


    • #3
      Re: Debating on a build


      Thanks for your response. Based on my phone conversation and looking up those same set of regulations I didn't bother to read over the exemptions.

      3.13 Outdoor Wood Burning Device: any wood burning fireplace, wood burning stove, or other device designed to burn wood that is located outside of a building or structure. This includes, but is not limited to, burn bowls, fire pits, and chimineas. This does not include fire pits at state parks, national parks, or national forests.

      Sounds possible that a Pompeii could fall under some of the characteristics of a Cookstove. I was tossing around the idea of a metal stand on the slab to get around the permanent definition, although wouldn't be very portable.

      With this exemption and the advice of a friend who was a finish contractor in the area and now an engineer who said lets follow building code on the chimney and we should be good, I'm starting to get my piece of mind to continue on as planned.



      • #4
        Re: Debating on a build

        Move to Arizona ?


        • #5
          Re: Debating on a build

          D77Mac -

          I'm just outside of Sacramento and had the same concerns. I wrote (email) to my local Air Quality Management District and inquired about my oven's status as a "cookstove." While the AQMD said it technically didn't fit the definition - they said they still considered it a cookstove (I sent them pictures to clarify) - but they asked me to not use it during no burn days (on a voluntary basis).

          Note that the rules here now prohibit the construction of any wood burning devices as well (except cookstoves) - so I really wanted to be sure I was okay before someone made me tear this puppy down.

          I'm not sure how long the no-burn season is in the Fresno area - but up north a bit the restrictions are only imposed from November - February - and usually only when it's foggy or there's an inversion layer. This year has been bad because of the lack of rain (as you're aware).

          I have a copy of the email sent to me from the AQMD and - for practical reasons don't use the oven on no burn days anyway - so it hasn't been an issue with me.

          Best of luck.


          • #6
            Re: Debating on a build

            Be sure to point out that it will only emit smoke during the firing. This will be about 1 to 1 1/2 hours for the typical oven. After that, during cooking, there is little or no smoke emitted.


            • #7
              Re: Debating on a build

              I feel quite blessed to live in southern Ohio.....
              I submitted drawings to my local building inspector and was told "No Permit Necessary"
              There isn't even a code against outdoor firepits/fireplaces here....
              That's one of the few benefits to living here.....'been trying to leave for 30 yrs.!