The smoke from wood heaters and open fireplaces can pollute the air we breathe, especially in autumn and winter.
Buying the right wood heater, and using and maintaining it well, is important for the health and safety of you and your family. It may well also be an important issue for your neighbours. It may affect their health and enjoyment of their home and quality of life.
For more information about what you can do if your neighbour’s wood heater is producing smoke or odour that is affecting the enjoyment of your property, please visit the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website.
Tips to reduce smoke from your wood heater
Correct installation, maintenance and operation of your wood heater will ensure you enjoy the warmth of your fire and avoid creating excess smoke that may be a nuisance to your neighbour.
- Only purchase a wood heater that is certified to the Australian Standards AS/NZS 4013:2014 and AS/NZS4012:2014.
- Ensure your heater is installed by a licensed person in accordance with the Building Act 1993 (Cwlth).
- Before winter have your flue professionally checked and cleaned.
- Refer to the manufacturer's operation manual for instructions specific to your wood heater model.
- Burn only dry, seasoned, untreated wood.
- Get a hot fire going quickly with plenty of paper and small kindling.
- Keep the air controls set high enough to keep the fire burning brightly.
- Never overload your wood heater with too much wood.
- Never leave your heater to smoulder overnight. This starves the fire of oxygen, producing more smoke and air pollution.
- Go outside and check the chimney occasionally for smoke emissions.
- Consider the wellbeing of your neighbours.
- Reducing use of your wood heater or fireplace, particularly on still days, can significantly improve air quality.
- If you live in the city and are thinking of a wood heater for your home, consider natural gas instead. Gas heaters produce less pollution than wood heaters.
If you use wood heating, or it is your only available source of heating, the impact on air quality can be reduced through correct operation.
The amount of smoke a fire makes depends on how much oxygen is available, how hot the fire is, and how dry and well-seasoned the wood is.