High Efficiency Woodstoves – Part 2

Part 2

Got firewood? Know how to use it? This article is the second in a 3-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 woodstove 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 woodstove. In fact, if wood is well seasoned wood 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 that 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 woodstove saves time, money, and has less negative impact on the air we breathe.

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

The technological advances include:

  • New firebox designs are 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 Woodstove 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 woodstoves as part of the Cariboo Woodstove 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 Woodstove Exchange Program, please contact bces@telus.net  or call 250-992-5833.