Solid Fuel Heaters (Wood Heaters)

Wood Heaters

There are standards relating to the purchase and installation of wood heaters.

If you are buying a new wood heater, it is important to make sure it has a compliance plate meeting the Australian standard (AS/NZS 4013:1999).

You may also need to get prior approval from Council before you install a solid fuel heating appliance under the Local Government Act 1993 if you are unable to meet the exempt requirements details in Council's Local Approvals Policy(PDF, 668KB) .

Further information can be found:

Tips and Safety for operating a Wood Fire (Australian Home Heating Association Inc.)

Wood heaters and Wood smoke (Australian Government - Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment)

Wood smoke isn't good smoke - Tips to reduce wood heater pollution (NSW Environmental Protection Authority)

Steps to reduce winter air pollution

Glen Innes Severn Council residents are being advised to check their firewood heaters, chimneys and the quality of the firewood being used, to help reduce instances of air pollution.

Before using your wood fire heater each year, it is advised that you clean your chimney of any build-up of creosote and collect or purchase good quality aged hardwood.

On colder days, wood smoke particles from inefficient heaters float in the air and can be seen as a smoke haze that sometimes sits over roof tops like fog. This sort of pollution can contribute to health difficulties, especially in those that have lung complications or allergies.

But by using aged dry wood and running our heaters properly we can help minimise these problems.

The EPA advises to some simple steps to reduce wood smoke pollution are:

  1. Have the chimney cleaned at least once a year, to prevent tar build-up.
  2. Don't let your heater smoulder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Store freshly cut wood under cover in a dry, ventilated area for at least eight to twelve months.
  6. Never burn rubbish, driftwood or painted or treated wood, which can produce toxic gases.
  7. When lighting a cold heater, use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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).

It’s the responsibility of all wood heater owners to follow these easy steps and minimise the harmful effects of smoke pollution on their neighbours and the community.

The EPA website also has some excellent information about reducing wood smoke emissions.