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Butte County, Calif.-- Wood burning stoves are a popular way to keep your home warm during the cold winters in the North State.
They can be more affordable than central heating, but the older model stoves put out a lot of harmful particulates into the air.
If you live anywhere across the basin - that includes Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties - starting Wednesday, you can turn in an application to your county's Air Quality Management Districts to get up to $3,500 toward a new stove.
This voucher program goes for low-income families or homes in a low-income area.
This is a pilot program and it's a part of the state's Cap-and-Trade program, and each of the 3 counties has about $112,000 to put toward getting clean-burning stoves in people's homes.
It's an investment that experts say is very important in a region where pollution gets so easily trapped.
"Wood stoves manufactured before 1988 when the EPA started certifying them, they put out a lot of pollutants, the main issue is there's a lot of un-combusted material so your wood is burning and all that material is going up the chimney," said Jason Mandly, Senior Air Quality Planner for the Butte County Air Quality Management District.
And pollution is not the only danger that an old stove poses.
"There are other benefits to replacing an older wood stove, not just air quality but there's also a fire safety issue with some of these older stoves, and also indoor air-quality - a lot of these old stoves are leaking on the inside which is not good for your health," said Mandley.
One Cal Fire Butte County firefighter says that on the older stoves, it's actually the pipe that deteriorates.
The firefighter says he's also seen multiple attic fires where the flames escape the chimney because of poor maintenance or build up.
So, this program can go a long way toward improving on public safety.
30 years ago the EPA put out regulations for newly manufactured stoves to burn more efficiently and emit less greenhouse emissions and particulates.
So, if you receive a voucher for a replacement, you'll have to choose a stove that fits that criteria.
You'll need to have a licensed contractor do the work, and the old stove has to be destroyed, not re-sold.
You can apply for the program right now online or submit the voucher application along with a photo of your old stove to you local air quality management district office.
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