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Woodstove Exchange Program

History of the Wood Stove Exchange
woodstove The Wood Stove Exchange Program began in 2008 with the intent to provide incentive for replacing old wood stoves (very high particulate emissions) with efficient, low emissions models or alternatives through $250 (per appliance) rebates. This program is funded by the BC Ministry of Environment and overseen by the BC Lung Association. The ACRD has participated for the past decade, providing about 365 rebates to residents of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.
Wood Stove Home Heating and Air Quality
Pollution from woodstove heating can impact your health, as well as the health and well-being of your neighbours, your family and your kids. While woodstoves may provide a cozy living room atmosphere, old uncertified woodstoves contribute to poor air quality. Particular matter (PM2.5) released from activities including wood burning, has been found to negatively impact the body, especially the lungs and heart.

how much pollution

2021 Wood Stove Exchange
This program runs on a first come, first serve basis. There are limited quantities of each of the two available rebates. Vouchers have a 90-day expiry from the date of issue.

The program is introducing an option for households with any wood stove manufactured prior to 2014 to participate in the program if they are switching to a new pellet, gas heating appliance or electric air-source heat pump.

The rebate amounts are:

  • $750 for a pellet stove or natural gas heating appliance
  • $1000 for a heat pump
  • $300 to exchange an uncertified woodstove for a certified woodstove

Appliances that can be changed-out to a certified woodstove under this program include the following:

  • a free-standing non-EPA-certified "stove." A "homemade" or "barrel" stove
  • a so-called "airtight" non-EPA-certified fireplace insert, or tube type heat exchanger with a face plate and door (like the "Free Heat Machine" or "Welenco") that is currently installed in an open hearth fireplace
  • a non-EPA-certified "wood furnace" (ducted, forced-air, home heating appliance);
  • a wood-burning cookstove
The reasoning for the higher rebate for the alternate home heating options are to encourage people to move away for wood heat as the primary heating option. The chart below shows the relative emissions of fine particulates based on your home heating option.

Relative Emissions

To determine if you are eligible to utilize the woodstove exchange and receive your rebate you must meet the following requirements:
  • Registered owner of property within the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (including all municipal and electoral areas)
  • home on the property has a wood burning appliance that is regularly used as the home's heat source. For exchange to a new gas or pellet stove or an electric heat pump, the existing wood burning appliance must have been manufactured prior to 2014. For exchange to a new wood burning appliance, the existing wood burning appliance must be non-EPA certified (manufactured prior to approximately 1994).
  • old wood stove is removed, decommissioned and recycled (ie. it cannot be re-used in a workshop or garage and the landfill must sign off on your voucher).
  • work must be done in compliance with local code requirements.

If you are eligible contact one of the participating retailers and they will contact the ACRD to request a voucher number. The retailers will help you to complete the voucher and are responsible for submitting to the regional district. The retailers participating in the 2021 exchange are:

The expectation is that for the $300 rebates the retailer will provide a $150 discount and for the $750-$1000 rebates the retailer will provide a $300 discount. There are limited quantities of each rebate type, and they will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

For those exchanging their wood stove for a natural gas stove or fireplace, eligible models are those eligible under FortisBC's EnerChoice program.

For those exchanging their wood stove for an electric heat pump, eligible models are those eligible under the EfficiencyBC program.

Note: Most insurance companies require notification if you are installing a new heating appliance. The value of the rebates cannot exceed the value of the appliance.

Burn your wood stove properly
If you heat your home with a woodstove, following safe burning practices improves your heating efficiency while reducing air pollution. To help you get the most out of your wood, only use dry wood (wood with less than 20% moisture content). Otherwise your fire won't burn as hot and you will be creating harmful smoke by drying wood in the woodstove.

After 15 minutes of starting the fire, there should be no visible smoke coming from your chimney. A $20 moisture meter can show you the moisture percentage of a log; insert the probes in the firewood log to obtain a reading. If you don't have a moisture meter, check the firewood log ends. Dry, seasoned wood should have cracks and split ends. Also, if you knock dry wood together, you should hear a hollow sound, not a wet 'thud'

Check out the Provincial Wood Burning Guidelines for more information on how to properly dry, store and build your woodstove fires.

A new 9 minute film called The Cost of Wood Heating was released by Breathe Clean Air Comox Valley and features Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer for Vancouver Island north and a number of local residents who are affected by wood smoke. The film outlines a range of known health effects caused by wood smoke, including asthma, reduced lung function, heart disease, lower birth weights, stroke and shorter life spans.

Acceptable air quality is everyone's right. Protecting air quality is everyone's responsibility.

Please direct any questions regarding the program to the ACRD at 250 720-2700 or email

AQCLung AssociationBC