March 2, 2023: The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District held a “Fireplace Change-Out Show & Tell” on Thursday March 2nd at the Malaga Community Recreation Center in Fresno.
The purpose of this event was to inform attendees on fireplace removals, decommissions, and overall replacements with cleaner options such as gas or electrical heating devices.
The event also gave the opportunity for local retailers in the San Joaquin Valley to showcase their services and to connect with potential clients.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District working with retailers such as Ponderosa Hearth and Home out of Clovis, can replace old wood or pellet burning “devices” with new, cleaner, and safer options that overall benefit the Central Valley.
Programs such as this help to reduce particulate matter, one specific to the Central Valley known as PM 2.5, by reducing the amount of the pollutant that is released into the air by older wood burning devices.
These devices have been defined as chimneys, fire pits, or otherwise any other unsafe avenues that are prohibited on non-burn days.
They commonly and significantly contribute to unsafe air pollution in the fall and winter months.
The program itself can help qualified candidates save up to $5000 when replacing their older devices.
Eligibility for replacement depends on a few matters, one being that the device itself must be within the Fresno or Madera Counties, or the Valley Air Basin portion of Kern County.
For qualified low income applicants, an additional $1500 can be added on top of the possible $5000.
For those who wish to only decommission and not absolutely replace a wood burning “device”, applicants may receive up to $750.
Media contact for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Cassandra Melching believes that this program is extremely important for the San Joaquin Valley, saying, “A lot of people don’t realize they’re not only impacting their own household, but wood smoke doesn’t just stay in one spot, it travels, so they’re impacting their neighbors and people who live around and animals who can suffer respiratory issues as well.”
These respiratory issues of course mainly come from the PM 2.5 pollutant mentioned before.
“[PM 2.5] is one of the most harmful pollutants. It’s so small, it can get in your bloodstream and it can cause heart attack, stroke, it just brings upon all kinds of bad health conditions.”
When asked about the impact the retailers have on their communities, “We have quite a few of them that we contract with throughout the whole San Joaquin Valley. It brings in more business for them if folks know there is funding to help them make that switch.”
The retailers, such as those present at the Fireplace Change-Out Show & Tell, are not only on the front lines of the replacement of older wood burning devices, but have also become “very knowledgeable” of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s program that can assist in funding the replacements.
You can learn more on how the program works and also how to apply at valleyair.org/change-out or by calling (559) 230-5800.