Last year the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) staff proposed a radical program to force homeowners to decommission or remove their wood-burning fireplace at the point of sale. Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) and other REALTORS® from the nine Bay Area counties spoke out against this proposal. The REALTORS® attended meetings, sent letters, and lobbied elected officials on the BAAQMD Board. The proposal was eventually dropped. Instead, the BAAQMD adopted advisory requirements that are now incorporated into the PRDS residential real estate forms. BAAQMD has also developed a rebate program as an incentive to remove wood-burning fireplaces.

Homeowners looking to switch their wood-burning fireplaces to gas or electric can receive a substantial rebate from the BAAQMD. Rebates can range from $750 to $12,000 depending on the project. There is a total of $3 million dollars in rebates available.

The rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The money is expected to cover rebates for about 1,500 homeowners with 40 percent set aside for low-income homeowners, those who live in areas most heavily impacted by winter smoke, and those who do not have access to natural gas pipelines to heat their homes. The larger grants, those at $12,000, will only be for low-income individuals.

Homeowners can apply for rebates here, or call (415) 749-5195.