A Burning issue in Quesnel

The Quesnel Air Quality Roundtable provides the low down on high efficiency woodstoves.

This article is the second in a three-part series on how to Burn it Smart, brought to you by the Quesnel Air Quality Roundtable.  The first article in this series discussed well seasoned firewood; this article reviews new wood stove technology and the final article will outline proper fire-burning techniques.

Did you know that residential wood burning is a major contributor to poor air quality in Quesnel?  Most of us blame industry and automobiles for bad air. The fact is, smoke from residential burning is a major contributor to particulate matter in the air we breathe. Particulate matter (also known as pollution, PM10, or PM2.5) are tiny particles 200 times smaller than raindrops. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.

There’s an old saying, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, but that isn’t true anymore when talking about burning in a high efficiency wood stove.  In fact, if wood is well seasoned and burned properly in an EPA certified stove, there should be little to no visible smoke coming out of the chimney.

You can identify a high efficiency appliances because they are certified as “clean burning” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  A label on the appliance will confirm it is EPA certified. There are big differences in efficiency and performance between conventional stoves and the advanced models.  On average, advanced stoves are about one-third more efficient and produce about 90 per cent less smoke than conventional stoves.  Using a higher efficiency wood stove saves time, money and has less negative impact on the air we breathe.

In recent years, wood stove technology has made great advances from the classic basement wood furnaces or simple black wood stoves.  New wood heating instillations are attractive stoves and advanced technology fireplaces located in the main living areas.

The technological advances include:

• New firebox designs: capable of burning the wood more completely, cleanly and at higher efficiencies.

• A new type of door glass can withstand the heat and a technology keeps the glass clear for days at a time, allowing efficient heating to be combined with viewing of the fire.

• Pellet stoves that use compressed wood and other biomass wastes are capable of providing at least 24 hours of unattended heating.

Reliable installation safety standards provide clear guidelines for safe installation.

Training and professional certification programs for installers and inspectors mean that you can get dependable advice and service.

Currently in the Cariboo, the Wood Stove Exchange Program is running for the sixth year in a row.  Cariboo residents are being offered a cash incentive of up to $550 to upgrade their old wood stoves as part of the Cariboo Wood Stove Exchange Program.  There are only 25 rebates in total. Therefore, it is on a first come, first serve basis that residents who replace older inefficient models with more efficient and clean-burning appliances can receive the cash rebate.

For more information or to inquire about the Wood Stove Exchange Program, contact, bces@telus.net or call 250-992-5833.


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