Burn it Smart

Want to upgrade your woodstove? To help improve local air quality, the CVRD, with the aid of funding awarded by the Ministry of Environment and the BC Lung Association, is pleased to administer a regional Woodstove Exchange Program. The program allows qualifying residents to receive a rebate towards exchanging their old, uncertified woodstove (pre-1994) for a new, EPA emission-certified wood, pellet, or gas heating appliance. Download the application form: 
2017 Regional Woodstove Exchange Program Application 
Did you know, 70% of woodsmoke is eliminated when you burn dry, seasoned wood?

Check your chimney! Within 15 minutes of lighting or adding fuel to your woodstove, only a small amount of smoke should be visible. Otherwise, make your burn more efficient by using drier wood, increasing the air intake, or making sure you are not overloading your woodstove.

Making your woodstove work smarter heats your house better and saves money. Plus, a hotter burn means less pollution. Be a good neighbour and burn it smart! Reduce the smoke coming out of your chimney, and don’t burn when weather conditions trap pollution.

The Cowichan Region has grown considerably over the past several years and has become quite urbanized, resulting in a high urban-rural interface in many areas. Smoke complaints have become common in these areas as temperature inversions, poor burning techniques, and air drainage restrictions influenced by topography prevent wood smoke from being dispersed. This keeps the smoke right where citizens live and breathe, polluting neighbourhoods for days or even weeks.

Whether you heat your home with wood or burn yard waste in your backyard, there are many tips and techniques that you can follow to “Burn It Smart” and reduce the impacts of smoke pollution on your neighbours. When burning yard waste, only burn dry, unprocessed wood sticks and branches, to keep smoke and air pollutants to a minimum.

There are alternatives to burning! Yard and garden materials like small branches and leaves can be recycled for free at many convenient locations in the CVRD. Visit the Cowichan Recyclopedia for details and hundreds more recycling ideas!

Check the Venting Index before you burn to make sure that any smoke that you do produce during ignition will be rapidly dispersed and won’t negatively affect your neighbours. The BC Ministry of Environment venting index is also available by phoning 1-888-281-2992.

If you use a woodstove to heat your home, remember to “Burn it Smart” by always using properly seasoned firewood (meaning wood that has been seasoned for at least six months); building small, hot fires; and not burning or using your woodstove when weather conditions are hazy, foggy or windless, as these conditions tend to trap smoke in the area. If possible, upgrade your woodstove to an EPA-certified appliance, and don’t forget to check your chimney for smoke! This is a great way to gauge how efficiently your stove is working.