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Wood heaters

This page contains general information on wood heaters, burning and wood selection.

If you use a wood heater to heat your home, it is your responsibility to ensure that it operates correctly.

An excessively smoky wood heater causes air pollution. Wood smoke contains fine particles that can have a damaging effect, particularly for the young, the elderly, and people who have existing respiratory problems.

You can reduce the amount of smoke coming from your chimney by keeping the fire burning brightly, never using green or wet firewood, and by keeping woodpiles under-cover.

Consider your neighbours, and your own safety, by sticking to the following simple guidelines for good wood heating.

Choosing wood

Choose your wood carefully. Green wood does not generate much heat, wastes your money and causes your wood heater to smoke excessively. Wood also needs to be dry to burn correctly, so stockpile in summer to allow an adequate supply of dry and well-seasoned wood.

When purchasing wood, make sure the wood you buy is not wet. Legally, retailers cannot sell wood with a moisture content of more than 20 per cent. Wood should be light pink, and should make a hollow, cracking sound why you bang two pieces together. Wet or dark wood is heavier, usually red or dark brown, and makes a dull thud when banged together.

If you are collecting your own wood, dry brushwood is best.

Burning

The method you follow when using your wood heater is just as important as the wood you use. Remember the following tips for good burning:

  • Start with dry kindling, and the air control fully opened.
  • When the fire is well established, and as hot as possible, gradually add larger wood pieces.
  • Keep the fire burning brightly. The flame should have bright swirling flames and red glowing embers, with little or no smoke coming from the chimney.
  • Do not shut the flue down overnight. Let fire burn completely out over night.
  • Clean the chimney regularly as a building up of soot will reduce the fire’s efficiency.

For more information, call the city on (08) 9237 9254.