Smoke the smoke - 10 top tips to reduce wood smoke this winter

People with wood burning heaters are being encouraged to take 10 simple steps to reduce smoke while staying toasty this winter.

“Wood burning heaters can be a great way of staying warm at night, but it’s important to use them in a manner which reduces the impact on people who live and work nearby,” Environment Minister Matt Kean said.

"Even though wood is a natural material, when burned it produces harmful particle pollution which can become trapped close to the ground and impact people’s health."

“Everybody wants to do the right thing, so as the temperatures fall and the cold sets in, a few simple steps can make a big difference,” Mr Kean said.
Simple steps to cut wood smoke pollution include:

  1. Burn only dry, aged hardwood.
  2. Store freshly cut wood in a dry, ventilated area for at least eight to 12 months.
  3. Never burn rubbish, driftwood, painted or treated wood.
  4. When lighting a cold heater, use plenty of dry kindling to establish a fire quickly.
  5. Open the air controls fully for five minutes before and 15 to 20 minutes after loading the heater.
  6. Have the chimney cleaned at least once a year to prevent tar build-up.
  7. Don't let your heater smolder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
  8. Choose an appropriate heating system for your home. One that retains the heat you put into it.
  9. Check your chimney regularly to see how well your fire is burning. If smoke is coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
  10. For new wood heaters, make sure they have a compliance plate showing they meet the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 4012:2014 and AS/NZS4013:2014).

Pollution generated by wood smoke can affect everyone. Even in small amounts, wood smoke pollutants can be harmful especially to the young, frail or elderly.

"I encourage everyone with a wood burner to help reduce smoke pollution this winter, while staying warm and enjoying the atmosphere of wood fire," Mr Kean said.

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