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What you need to know about Wood Burning Appliances and Fireplaces

As of September 2022, Metro Vancouver residents in these communities within the urban containment boundaries must register their wood-burning appliances.

Let’s quickly discuss the difference between a wood-burning appliance and a wood-burning fireplace. 

fireplace is a large, ventilated structure that’s designed to contain a fire safely. They are typically made of heat-resistant materials like brick or stone that can withstand fires. You add wood to the fireplace’s interior, known as the firebox, where you can light it to start a fire. The firebox is connected to a hollow flue that leads upwards to the chimney. Fresh air enters the firebox through the chimney and flue, while smoke escapes the firebox through the flue and chimney.

A wood-burning stove is an appliance that’s used to burn wood to heat a home or indoor space. Like fireplaces, wood-burning stoves are designed to safely contain a fire. However, the primary difference between them lies in their construction. Fireplaces are constructed as a structure — typically made of brick or stone, though sometimes metal — whereas wood-burning stoves consist of multiple pre-fabricated components.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, part of your home’s construction, you do not have to register with Metro Vancouver. 

If you have a wood-burning stove, separate from the internal construction of your home, then it qualifies as an appliance, and you will have to register it. 

To request paper copies of declaration and registration forms or get help with this online tool, please call 604-451-6677 or email riwb@metrovancouver.org.

Residential Indoor Wood Burning May 15 to September 15

Metro Vancouver adopted Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw 1303 in March 2020.  The bylaw is intended to reduce emissions from residential indoor wood burning across the region. Users of indoor wood-burning appliances must use best burning practices when allowed to operate their appliances.

Residential indoor wood-burning appliances cannot be used between May 15 and September 15, every year, unless:

  • The wood-burning appliance is operated within an off-grid residence located outside the Urban Containment Boundary
  • The wood-burning appliance is the only source of heat in a residence
  • There is an emergency (such as a gas or electrical outage lasting 3 hours or more

Metro Vancouver offers a wood stove exchange program that provides a rebate for exchanging an old uncertified wood-burning appliance for a new low emission appliance.

You can find information on Metro Vancouver’s Wood Stove Exchange Program webpage.

For more information, please contact Metro Vancouver