As the cold front takes hold of the region, we are being reminded to take a few steps first to reduce smoke pollution before we light our fires tonight.
When wood is burned it produces harmful particle pollution which is released into the atmosphere, winter wood smoke can also hang around for days, it doesn’t always dissipate.
The NSW Environment and Protection Authority are reminding Shoalhaven residents with indoor wood burner heaters to take the below steps before starting them up this winter, to help keep improving the regions air quality.
- Have the chimney cleaned at least once a year, to prevent tar build-up.
- Don't let your heater smolder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
- Open the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15 to 20 minutes after loading the heater. Stack wood loosely in your firebox, so plenty of air circulates around it. That way your fire will burn hot and efficiently.
- Burn only dry, aged hardwood in your wood heater. Green or unseasoned wood contains up to 70% water, which causes smoke, not heat and wastes money.
- Store freshly cut wood under cover in a dry, ventilated area for at least eight to twelve months.
- Never burn rubbish, driftwood or painted or treated wood, which can produce toxic gases.
- When lighting a cold heater, use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.
- Check your chimney regularly to see how well your fire is burning. If there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
- Save money by making sure your home retains the heat you put into it – insulate ceilings, walls and floors where possible and choose an appropriate heating system for your home.
- 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).
You can find out more on the EPA's website.