More than $3 million in funds are available for property owners to swap out their old wood stoves for cleaner alternatives.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Wood Smoke Reduction Incentive Program allows homeowners and property owners to access funds to ditch their old wood-burning fireplaces or stoves with heating options that are better for the environment.
“On cold winter nights, wood smoke from residential wood burning accounts for a significant portion of the Bay Area’s fine-particle pollution,” according to the air quality district.
To be eligible, applicants must own a property that is a residential unit and contains an operational wood-burning stove or fireplace, used for heating purposes. Qualifying wood-burning devices do not include those meant for cooking purposes, according to the district.
Awards will range from $750 up to a maximum of $12,000 per property and may not exceed the actual total project cost.
Funding is provided on a reimbursement basis to applicants who are issued a notice to proceed from the district.
But applicants who have had any work related to their project performed before the air district issues a notice to proceed are not eligible.
Property owners who decommission a wood-burning stove or fireplace are eligible for a $750 grant. If replaced with a natural gas or propane-fueled device, the grant jumps to $1,000.
A $3,500 grant is available to those who replace a wood-burning stove or fireplace with an electric heat pump.
Low-income assistance grants are also available up to $8,500.
Anyone whose sole source of heat is a wood-burning device must use an Environmental Protection Agency-certified or pellet-fueled device registered with the district to qualify for an exemption from any future burn bans starting Nov. 1.
Starting this fall, wood-burning stoves will also be forbidden in newly constructed homes built in the Bay Area under rules adopted last year by the air quality district.
The rules adopted last year also require that home sellers with a wood-burning stove or fireplace to disclose the health risks wood smoke poses to prospective buyers.
Individuals can also be cited for exceeding visible emissions limits.
If a home produces a profuse amount of smoke that lasts more than three minutes, a citation can also be issued.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.
The board also issued a resolution last year directing staff to reconvene in five years with a proposal to ban all wood burning on winter “Spare the Air” days.
Go to: baaqmd.gov/grant-funding/residents/wood-smoke-rebate to learn more.