The seventh year of the woodstove exchange program has started—and it might be Alberni Valley residents’ last opportunity to switch out their pre-1994 woodstoves before a new bylaw sets in.
“The City of Port Alberni has a bylaw saying that effective May 2017, all old woodstoves that are not emission-certified have to be removed from the homes,” said air quality council chair Sarah Thomas.
“So now is a good opportunity to find a new one.”
Bylaws aren’t the only reason to switch out your woodstoves, according to Port Alberni Fire Department fire prevention officer Randy Thoen.
“We are working to clean up our air quality and we know that we do have a significant amount of pollution that can be attributed to residential wood burning and we’re just trying to create a cleaner and safer environment for our community to live in and our children to grow up in,” he said.
“The new woodstoves trap the heavier carbon particles inside the device and with the piping of some fresh air at that point you get a combustion of those products that creates the extra heat energy that you’re getting from the stove.”
Previously, the heavy carbon particles just went up the chimney and collected there as creosote.
It’s not just air quality that will improve with the new EPA-certified stoves.
“With a newer device being installed and being inspected to a wet standard, the device is safer to use. It burns more efficiently so you don’t end up with as much buildup in the chimney and venting,” said Thoen.
The efficiency of the newer woodstoves make them less expensive in the long haul as well.
“Some testing on the legacy devices suggests they’re only about 25 or 30 per cent efficient, with the new stoves being anywhere from 75 to 80 per cent efficient or more.”
That’s equivalent to a high efficiency oil furnace, Thoen added, and is the difference between five cords of wood for the old stoves and one-and-a-half with the new ones.
The woodstove exchange program can help buyers save $400 off a new EPA-certified wood stove at participating retailers. The program runs till Dec. 1, 2016 but only 30 vouchers are available on a first-come first-serve basis.
For more information and a list of participating retailers, call the regional district at 250-720-2700 or visit www.acrd.bc.ca.