Wood Heating

Wood Stove Exchange Program  - View Poster

There are TWO $$$ Incentives!!!!!

1)  $250 for the replacement of uncertified wood burning stove or wood furnace with a certified EPA (after May 15 a new EPA 2020 limit applies) or CAN/CSA B415.1 wood replacement

2)  $400 for the replacement of uncertified wood stoves to a cleaner burning appliance such a pellet stove, an electric heat pump, or a gas or propane stove.

Since 2001, the Central Okanagan has been offering the Wood Stove Exchange Program in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment to encourage citizens to exchange their old woodstove for an EPA certified wood stove  (approved pellet, electric or gas hearth product) to prevent air pollution in the region. This effort has helped 1,858 residents within RDCO, RDNO and RDOS to exchange their old, non-EPA certified wood stoves for new technology products; resulting in particulate matter reduction of up to 113 tonnes per year (based on BC Ministry of Environment reduction estimates). 

Exchange your old Wood Stove, improve your health, get a rebate and save money! 


1)    If you would like to install a wood burning appliance it must be EPA or CAN/CSA B415.1 certified. Year-round discounts could also apply to specific models and brands. After May 15, 2020, a new 2020 EPA certification is required. Please confirm the EPA 2020 certification in the following databases:

    • Search: Room Heaters for wood stoves and pellet stoves
    • Search: Central Heaters for forced-air furnaces and hydronic heaters (otherwise known as outdoor wood boilers).
    • There is no online database for CAN/CSA B415.1 certified appliances. The user manual specifies the attained certification which must be CSA B415.1 and no other CSA number.
    • Wood Stove Exchange Program Eligible Appliances

2)   If you would like to install a natural gas appliance, check for additional rebates through Fortis BC (when choosing eligible EnerChoice® models)

  • Recycle your old wood stove.  Retailers can help you with the recycling paperwork or provide related information.
  • Obtain a proper building permit from your local government for legal installation
  • Retailers will help you to fill out the appropriate RDCO Tracking form and they will send the paperwork to the RDCO. The Air Quality program processes the rebate applications. After a few weeks, you will receive a $250 or a $400 cheque directly to your mailing address along with some educational material. Please  consult the Guide to Residential Wood Heating.
  • If you already bought a wood certified/gas appliance through a different retailer, you can still get the rebate!. In this case, the paperwork will be done directly by the client.  Please contact the Air Quality Coordinator at airquality@kelowna.ca to get a special tracking form and additional requirements. The essential paperwork, among others, includes; an RDCO tracking form provided by Air Quality,  invoice of new certified appliance, recycling receipt of old appliance and photos before/after installation. 

Did you know?
That since 1998, it is illegal to install a non-EPA wood burning appliance within the Central Okanagan.  

Why should I exchange my old wood stove?

Old wood burning appliances burn inefficiently and create more air pollution than new appliances. According to Bylaw 773 only wood burning appliances (included without limitation stoves, fireplaces inserts or wood boilers) that meet the emission standards CAN/CSA B415.1 or the current EPA standards could be granted a permit to be installed within the Regional District of Central Okanagan.  Please Note the UL certifications are NOT emission certifications.

In September 2016 the previous Solid Fuel Burning Domestic Appliance Regulation was repealed and replaced with a new regulation that came into force November 1, 2016.

On April 2, 2020, the EPA published the finalized amendments to the 2015 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Hydronic Heaters and Forced-Air Furnaces (collectively referred to as “wood heating devices”). EPA is maintaining compliance dates that were established in the original NSPS. Therefore, after May 15, 2020 only appliances in compliance with EPA 2020 standards can be sold and installed. This final action helps ensure that customers buying wood heaters will be able to choose cleaner-burning models.

There are several effective ways to reduce air pollutants. Natural gas and electricity are much cleaner ways to heat a home. Proper insulation and weather stripping can cost less than a wood stove and reduce heating costs. If you are planning to install a new heating device, choose cleaner and more efficient heating (non-wood burning) devices.

If you must use wood, the current EPA-certified wood burning appliances heat more efficiently, using about 1/3 less wood and creating 90% less smoke. When used correctly, it is possible to burn without creating any visible smoke. The Wood Burning Best Practices provide great information and videos to assist you in burning cleaner.     


Home Insurance

BEFORE you replace your old wood burning appliance, contact your insurance company to learn if you can save on home insurance (by qualifying as a secondary heat source) AND to find out if your insurance company imposes any additional requirements (such as a WETT inspection).

For more information on the Wood Stove Exchange Program and how wood smoke impacts our environment, go to bcairquality.ca.

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Why the moisture content of wood is important

Burning wet wood is a waste of energy! When a live tree is cut the moisture content can be greater than 50% (half of the weight is water).

In the Central Okanagan, the moisture content of the wood is required to be under 20%, preferably around 15%. Burning seasoned wood helps reduce air pollution, saves time and money.
Here's a helpful video:  Burning Clean: It starts with the Wood

Here's a video on How to test the firewood with a moisture meter.

Check with local hardware retailers for the availability of Wood Moisture meter measuring devices.
(Image credit: Burn Wise,EPA)

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Wood Heating Best Practices

In the Central Okanagan, 30% of air pollution comes from residential wood burning. Wood smoke contains small particles (PM2.5) and chemicals that can be harmful to your health and the local air quality in your community. If you use wood for heating your home or for entertainment/ambient purposes, it is your responsibility to Burn it Smart.

Check this Burn it Smart tool to enjoy a fire without smoke! 


Scientific and medical research proves that wood smoke contains toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health. 
Wood Smoke and Your Health Video  Moreover, burning wood is no longer the most efficient way to heat your home, thanks to the invention and rise in popularity of high-efficiency home-heating systems. 

If you still heat your home with wood, following proper burning practices will help you use less wood, save money and prevent excessive smoke so that everyone can enjoy better health. 

In order to prevent health issues and nuisance, it is recommended indoor open hearth fireplaces and  grandfathered uncertified wood appliances should be avoided when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.

Highly visible smoke from your chimney is a sign that you may be operating your stove incorrectly. Watch these wood burning videos for great advice on getting the most out of your wood burning appliance!

Source: www.hpba.org 

Source: www.hpba.org 

Source: www.hpba.org 

Source: www.hpba.org 


Source: www.hpba.org 

Source: www.hpba.org 

Source: www.hpba.org 

Also you can print and follow the Wood Burning Best Practices to dry firewood, the Myths and Facts or download the Guide to Residential Wood Heating  and check the Wood Stove Trouble Shooting Guide

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Additional Environment Canada Wood Heating Video Links
(To view you may need the free Windows Media Player)


Contact Us

Regional Air Quality Coordinator

Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)