Voluntary stove swap program warms homes, cleans air, cuts costs

Person wearing a dark blue jacket carrying seven pieces of wood. A pile of wood is visible in the background.

An update from Environmental Initiative: We’ve been inundated with application requests to change out old wood burning appliances through Project Stove Swap. Due to overwhelming demand, we’ve reached our current capacity and are pausing new applications. Stay tuned for updates—we’re eager to help more households in the future.

Minnesotans can once again take advantage of Project Stove Swap, a voluntary program that saves residents money on a new wood stove or heating appliance purchase. Project Stove Swap is an effort to swap old, inefficient wood burning stoves with newer models that cut heating expenses, increase safety, and reduce air pollution. 

Eight vendors are currently partnering in the wood smoke pollution reduction effort across more than twenty Minnesota counties. Appliance discount incentives range from $325 to $10,000, depending on the type of replacement and income level. More than 200 older inefficient wood stoves have been swapped since the program began in 2017.  

“Older wood burning appliances can be a financial and safety burden for customers, but the cost of upgrading is a huge barrier,” said Gary Wilkening, Wilkening Fireplace Company. “By partnering with Environmental Initiative, we can connect customers with financial support while reducing the administrative burden.” 

Appliances used as a primary or major heat source and manufactured before 1992 are generally eligible for replacement through the program. Eligible appliances include wood and wood pellet stoves, fireplace inserts, fireplaces, forced air furnaces, and hydronic heaters.  Residents in Aitkin, Beltrami, Carver, Cass, Carlton, Cook, Crow Wing, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, LeSueur, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Rice, Scott, Stearns, St. Louis, Todd, and Wadena counties may be eligible to participate. 

“Project Stove Swap is a great example of how strong partnerships can positively impact the local economy, air quality, and public health while saving people money on their heating costs,” said Mike Harley, executive director of Environmental Initiative, “The project is supporting residents who may need support to upgrade their appliances.”  

According to theMinnesota Pollution Control Agency, most air pollutants today come from smaller, widespread sources that are not highly regulated. These smaller sources include cars, trucks, construction equipment, and residential wood burning.

Wood smoke is composed of a mix of gases, chemicals, and fine particles. The finest particles are small enough to be absorbed by the lungs and enter the bloodstream, which can cause a variety of health concerns, especially inchildren, the elderly, and people with existing heart, lung, or upper respiratory conditions.  

Project Stove Swap and discount incentives for residents are made possible by funding from Anchor Glass, Flint Hills Resources, and Minnesota Power.

Interested in swapping out your old stove or wood burning appliance? Fill out this short sign-up form to check your eligibility and start the process. Contact Emily Kraeske on 612-334-3388 ext. 8104.