Harmful smoke pollution can be drastically reduced if we improve the way we use our wood heaters.

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Operating wood heaters
What you can do about a wood heater that emits a lot of smoke

Wood heaters have a number of benefits such as warmth and ambience in the colder months. But did you know they must be installed and operated to a standard for your protection and that of your property, neighbours and the environment? 

Operating wood heaters

The following useful tips will help you get the most out of your wood heater:

Use dry, dense, seasoned wood.

Never use treated or painted timber.

Stack wood under cover in a dry well ventilated area off the ground

When lighting the fire put plenty of paper underneath and two or three loosely crumpled sheets on top to heat the flue and create a quick draught.

Use small logs and ensure air can circulate freely around each log (at least 2cm space).

Leave the air flow fully open for at least 20 minutes to create the right conditions for the wood to burn completely and cleanly right from the start. 

Keep the air control fully open for 5 minutes before and 15-20 minutes after adding logs.

Don't let your heater smoulder, keep the air control open enough to maintain a flame. A hotter fire means there will be less smoke.

Keep your heater and flue clean to ensure good air flow and prevent creosote build up.

Avoid burning coal - most domestic heaters are not designed to withstand the heat that comes from burning coal and will affect the longevity of the heater and you are risk of filling your room with noxious gases.

To learn more about how to operate your wood heater correctly, visit the Australian Home Heating Association website.

What you can do about a wood heater that emits a lot of smoke

All slow combustion wood heaters tend to smoke when they are first lit or when refueling. Pooling of woodsmoke may also be unavoidable in some locations. Having said this, they should not smoke excessively for long periods if they are operated correctly and are well maintained. If talking to your neighbour isn't an option, or doesn't work, you can contact us and we will investigate. 

Report an issue

Where smoke is considered excessive, a smoke abatement notice can be issued. Factors include the continuous length of time that the plume of smoke is visible / frequency.

Smoke abatement notices are issued under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act. Civil action can also be taken in the local court.