Metro Vancouver is looking at new regulations that would make many wood-burning fireplaces across the region illegal.
Julie Saxton of Metro Vancouver’s air quality and climate change division said wood-burning stoves negatively affect the region’s air quality.
“Those emissions from this particular source — indoor residential wood burning — are pretty significant,” she said.
“In fact they’ve become the largest source of emissions of that particular pollutant — fine particulate matter — in the region.”
Draft rules issued by the region would prohibit burning wood at home during the summer months starting in 2020.
By 2022, wood-burning appliances would need to be registered and meet modern emission standards.
By 2025, all unregistered appliances will not be allowed to burn wood.
There would be exceptions, including homes where a “wood burning appliance is the sole source of space heating or heat source for cooking in the home” and residences where the “owner of the appliance has insufficient means to pay for heating with a fuel other than wood.”
There are about 100,000 wood-burning devices in Metro Vancouver that they know about.
Those who own open-hearth fireplaces would need to upgrade to newer, cleaner woods stoves and fireplaces.
Saxon notes that old-school fireplaces can be retrofitted with certified inserts that would reduce emissions to an acceptable level.
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“One of the things people can do to reduce their emissions is use best burning practices,” she said. “Having said that open-hearth fireplaces produce significantly more emissions than even conventional wood stoves,” Saxton said.
“Once you get to higher technology appliances such as certified woods stoves, certified inserts and pellet stoves, which are all burning wood-based fuels, those produce much cleaner emissions.”
According to Metro Vancouver, good burning practices include:
• Burning only clean, seasoned wood, with a moisture content of 20 per cent or less
• Never burning prohibited materials that can release toxic chemicals
• Burning small, hot fires
• Not damping or holding a fire overnight
• Getting your chimney inspected and swept regularly
— With files from Ted Chernecki