Blue Mountains City Council

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Solid Fuel Heaters

Installing Solid Fuel Heaters

Wood heaters have a number of benefits such as warmth and ambience in the colder months.
But did you know they must be installed to a standard for your protection and that of your property, neighbours and the environment?
If not installed correctly you could be at risk of a fire starting or chimney smoke may accumulate around buildings. This is why Council approval is required.
You have two options when installing a solid fuel heater:
  •  Submit a development application to get approval for your wood heater, or
  • Have your wood heater installed by an accredited installer.
To submit a development application, contact Council on (02) 4780 5000 and talk to a Duty Surveyor and check Council’s Local Approvals Policy under “Polices, Plans and Strategies”.
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 at www.homeheat.com.au.