If you heat with wood now or are considering the use of wood fuel for home heating, the Guide to Residential Wood Heating is for you. Wood as a home energy source differs in important ways from all the other options. Heating with wood can be challenging because of the physical demands involved. Special knowledge and skills are needed to successfully use this hands-on home heating option. In this book you will find much of the information needed to make sure your wood heat system is safe. You will also find helpful tips on how to operate and maintain it effectively.
Just as with all energy sources, heating with wood has both advantages and disadvantages.
Read the full guide: A Guide to Residential Wood Heating
In Golden, many of us burn wood to heat our homes, enjoy the ambiance of a wood fire, and save money on the cost of heating fuel. Nothing is cozier than warming your toes in front of a friendly wood fire!
However, if there is significant visible smoke coming from your chimney, it means that there are some problems with your heating system. It is costing you more money and effort, and creating more air pollution than necessary.
The Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program
The Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program is designed to encourage residents of British Columbia to replace their older smoky wood stoves with lower emission appliances, including new clean burning wood stoves. The Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A also supports wood stove exchange with additional rebate funding for CSRD Area A residents. In Golden, these programs are administered by the Golden and District Air Quality Committee in collaboration with local home heating appliance retailers.
Vouchers for the rebate program are available upon request only at local Golden retailers:
Parky’s Heating and Cooling and Kardash Plumbing and Heating.
Supplies are limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis.
Under the current program, if you have an existing wood burning appliance in use in your home, you can apply for a $250 rebate if you have your old stove replaced by a CSA/EPA certified new wood stove, insert, pellet stove or gas stove. CSRD Area A residents are eligible for an additional rebate.
Important: You must apply for the rebate before you have an older stove removed. It must be inspected, decommissioned and disposed of properly. This process must be verified by a local supplier of a new stove in order to qualify for a rebate.
Dealers, manufacturers and suppliers may also offer additional discounts.
With all of these incentives, why not look into replacing that old smoker? Inefficient wood burning causes excessive air pollution.
This is harmful to the health of you and your neighbours. Constant smoke creates a potential fire hazard in your chimney. Your stove also produces less heat than it would from the same amount of wood burned properly. Smoke is essentially good fuel that is wasted.
With a CSA/EPA approved wood stove, good quality dry wood and sufficient air, it is possible to enjoy a wood fire with minimal smoke production.
It is safer for our families and good for our whole community!
We can all learn how to have cleaner, more efficient fires that reduce wood smoke and creosote build up, and make our homes and neighbourhoods safer.
1. Check Your Regularly Chimney for Smoke
When you are burning a wood fire, you should go outside and check to see how much smoke is coming from your chimney. When a fire is first started, it is normal to see visible smoke for about the first 10 minutes. After that, you should see mainly heat waves and minimal or no smoke.
If it keeps smoking continually there are several possible reasons for this including not enough air, inadequately seasoned wood, and an old, inefficient stove.
Excessive smoke will increase the risk of chimney fires.
When a fire produces constant blue/grey smoke, this means that creosote is forming at the same time. Creosote is deposited on the inside of your chimney when wood is not burned completely and becomes a highly volatile fuel during a chimney fire. There were 6 chimney fires reported to the Golden fire department in 2011. This may not seem like very many, but a chimney fire could destroy a home.
Regardless of how well your stove is burning, you should have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
2. Make sure your fire is getting enough air.
When wood is burned at a high temperature, emissions are kept at a minimum. The air quality inside and outside of your home is also much better.
Open the damper more to bring in more air and let the fire burn hotter. There should be bright and lively flames.
Leaving the wood to smoulder slowly is not saving you wood. It is in fact wasting fuel. The combustion process is incomplete letting the fuel energy escape as smoke. If you burn a hotter fire, the wood does disappear more quickly, but the result is more heat produced per unit of wood, not less.
3. Make sure your wood is well seasoned.
Wood placed on a hot bed of coals should easily ignite in less than a minute. It should not sizzle very much at all. Fire wood should be cut in the spring and stacked for a minimum of 6 months under loose cover to be ready to burn efficiently the next winter. The moisture content should be below 20%. If the wood is not adequately seasoned, it will heat less efficiently and create more creosote when burning.
Well seasoned fire wood has checks in the end grain and a deeper colour than green wood.
4. Replace your wood stove or furnace if it will not burn efficiently.
Wood stove technology has improved a great deal over the years. Newer stoves or fireplace inserts manufactured after 1994 that are CSA/ EPA-certified, are proven to burn 1/3 less wood, to reduce emissions by up to 70 per cent, and to significantly reduce risks of chimney fires. New standards for even more efficient stoves are coming in 2016.
Nevertheless, there are still many older smoky wood stoves in operation in and around Golden. These units can affect the health of homeowners, your neighbours, and the overall health of the Golden air shed. In fact, one of the most important sources of air pollution in Golden during the winter months is wood burning for home heating.
Efficiency means burning the smoke …and using up to 1/3 less wood each winter!