Rebates to replace older wood heat appliances have increased in the area. (File photo)

Rebates to replace older wood heat appliances have increased in the area. (File photo)

Wood heating replacement rebate values increase

Goal is to reduce particulate matter in the air

People with older wood-heat appliances now have an added incentive to purchase new more efficient ones that meet accepted standards.

A regional airshed monitoring society is adding its own money to an existing provincial wood stove exchange program, esentially doubling the rebate potential.

Cleaner burning of wood for heat is part of the Bulkley Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society’s ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of particulate in the air and with that, reducing the health impact on people.

The provincial rebate is $400 for an exchange from an old wood stove to an electric heat pump, pellet stove, or natural gas or propane appliance and $250 for an exchange from an old wood stove to a new certified wood burning appliance or an electric insert. The total rebate will never be more than the cost of the appliance.

Using its own monies, the airshed management society is adding to the above by providing a rebate value of $500 for an electric boiler, $500 for a geothermal system, $500 for a heat exchanger, $500 for a solid fuel pellet stove, $250 for a solid fuel wood stove, between $250 to $500 for a solid fuel fireplace insert, $250 for a solid fuel or pellet boiler and $800 for solid fuel wood or pellet furnace.

Sue Brookes from the airshed management society said old units being replaced must be non compliant to current standards and their removal must be documented. Anyone unsure of the process should contact her first.

Most exchanges administered by the society have been in Smithers where the municipality has its own incentives. There have been no recent rebate requests in Houston or in Burns Lake.

The District of Houston did have its own rebate program to act as a supplement and incentive but stopped that several years ago because of lack of demand.

But it does have a bylaw that when an air quality advisory is issued that people burning wood should stop unless the appliance is their dwelling’s only source of heat.

Atmospheric conditions in the Bulkley Valley are such that on cold days with no wind, wood smoke can hang over communities, trapped by an inversion layer.

In addition to rebates, Brookes said the society offers other assistance.

“Contact us if you need help assessing your needs, choosing options or buying, installing or maintaing your heating system,” she added.

There’s also money set aside to help people build a woodshed for the proper storage of firewood.

“Seasoned wood is key in clean and efficient wood stove operation. Don’t burn green wood,” said Brookes.

And for those wishing to built their own air filter, the society can help with that as well.

The added rebates come as the Houston area recorded the highest particulate matter among a list of 47 communities in the B.C. Lung Association’s 2020 annual report based on data collected for 2019.

Environment ministry officials have indicated that burning wood is a leading cause of particulate matter in the area.

More information is available from Brookes at coordinator@cleanairplan.ca or going on line at cleanairplan.ca/blog.

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