Wood Stove Change-out Program Launches Thursday - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wood Stove Change-out Program Launches Thursday

SPOKANE, Wash. - Eligible Spokane-area residents can apply for $500-$1,000 discount vouchers to upgrade their old wood stoves/inserts to cleaner, more efficient heating devices including wood, pellet and gas stoves/inserts, and "mini-split system" ductless heat pumps, announced the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency (Spokane Clean Air).

 To pre-qualify, the home or business must be located within the boundaries of the Spokane County Smoke Control Zone, and must have a currently installed and operational non-EPA certified or pre-1995 wood stove (freestanding or insert) that is being used as a regular source of heat. Residents who meet these minimum criteria can submit an application to Spokane Clean Air.

 Those approved will receive a "Discount Voucher" and a list of retailers who will accept the voucher toward purchase and installation costs of a new device. Voucher values are $500 to upgrade to new wood stove/insert, $700 to upgrade to pellet stove/insert, $1,000 to upgrade to gas stove/insert and $1,000 to upgrade to a "mini-split system" ductless heat pump. In addition to the voucher value, some of the participating retailers are offering additional in-house and manufacturers' discounts for program participants.

"The wood stove change out program is designed to improve air quality by reducing smoke in our neighborhoods. Getting rid of the old stoves is one way to move in that direction. Smoke contributes to respiratory illness, particularly in children and the elderly," according to Lisa Woodard, Public Information Officer for Spokane Clean Air.

 "The other piece is ensuring that those who heat with wood, whether it be with a new device or an older device, are following the best burning practices for an efficient fire with minimal smoke," added Woodard. "The change out program has an educational component as well, which includes an in-home demonstration by the installers on how to properly operate the new device, as well as follow-up materials." 

 Wood stove emissions have been associated with increases in respiratory ailments. Soot and smoke pollution is known to cause lung problems and exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma. Replacing old wood stoves can also have a positive impact on indoor air quality, as documented in study done in Libby, Montana, where a widespread change out program was undertaken.

 The program is being administered by Spokane Clean Air with funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology. Funding is limited and expected to cover 125-140 change-outs. The program is not retro-active and other terms and conditions apply. More information about the program, including a map of the Smoke Control Zone and an application form, is available here or call 477-4727.

In April, a wood stove replacement program for income-qualified residents will launch. The funding, which comes from the same state grant, will cover 17-20 full replacements for qualified area homeowners.

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