© 2020 SCCAS
Wood Stove Exchange Program
in this section
The SCCAS is working to educate people about the serious health hazards of operating old wood stoves and fireplaces.
Health ConcernsThe most dangerous material in wood smoke may be the fine particles that make up the smoke and soot. Many of these particles are toxic. Most are so small that, when you breathe them, they get past your body’s defences and go deep into your lungs. There, they can cause serious problems such as scarring of the lung tissue. Studies show that death rates in several U.S. cities increased when there were higher levels of fine particles in the air. Wood smoke is most dangerous to the health of infants and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with lung or heart disease. Some of the reasons wood smoke is such a serious problem are:
- In the winter, we often have weather conditions that cause stagnant air. As a result, wood smoke is trapped close to the ground in neighbourhoods. At these times, air pollution in many neighbourhoods is unhealthy.
- Studies show that people who heat their homes with wood have more respiratory problems than those who don’t. Smoke particles also invade neighbouring homes. Research shows that children in wood burning neighbourhoods are more likely to have lung and breathing problems.
- the old stove in place prior to removal and after being damaged and taken to the recycling centre, or
- the fireplace before and after either the insert is installed or it is blocked off.
- Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Be sure your firewood has been split and dried for at least one year. The moisture content should be between 15 and 20%.
- Store the split wood, with the bark facing up, under cover but without touching the tarp. It should also be lifted of the ground.
- Never burn wet, painted, stained or treated wood; colored newsprint; plastic; garbage; diapers; or magazines.
- Build small fires to help the wood burn completely. Adding too much wood at one time cuts down on the air to the fire and leaves you with unburned wood.
- Keep your fire hot! Dampering down your stove just cuts off the air, which wastes wood, creates a lot of smoke, and produces very little heat. You can tell if your fire has enough air by checking the smoke coming from your chimney. You should see only heat waves. If you see smoke, increase the air supply to your fire.
- Make sure your wood stove is the right size for its space. A stove that is too large for the space it is heating will have to be damped down, causing more smoke. Make sure your stove is properly installed.
Wood Stove Exchange ProgramThe Sunshine Coast Clean Air Society, in partnership with the BC Lung Association and the Ministry of Environment, is a participant in the province-wide Wood Stove Exchange Program. The Sunshine Coast Clean Air Society offers a $400 WSEP rebate for the trade in towards a heat pump, electric insert or propane/natural gas. There is an additional $250 for District of Sechelt Residents converting to a heat pump.
MoE has funded this program since 2008, facilitating over 7,000 exchanges to date. The SCCAS has been a continuous participant of the WSE program since 2009 and is grateful to the Ministry for the funding it provides to the Sunshine Coast.
For more information on our local program, please see the
Considerate Home Heating Presentation
The old wood burning appliance MUST be destroyed.
Photos are required of:
As there are limited rebates available, a tracking system is in place.
Once you have decided on a new heating appliance and arranged for installation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request the numbered voucher which will be emailed to you and your installer.
The voucher must be completed by the vendor/installer and signed by the homeowner before being mailed, along with photos to:
Clean Air Society, Box 396 Sechelt, BC V0N 3A0
If you must heat with wood, burn hot and keep the damper open!
You can reduce smoke by burning properly: