Is your wood heater burning effectively?

Armidale Regional Council

With the cold weather now upon us, it is time for residents
in the Armidale region to think about ways to heat homes effectively and
efficiently.

Armidale Regional Council’s Director Businesses and Services
Scot MacDonald said now is the best time to begin preparing your wood heater to
make sure it burns as efficiently as possible.

“Every year, on some nights a blanket of wood smoke covers
parts of Armidale due to the large number of households using wood heaters
paired with the geography of the area,” said Mr MacDonald.

“Much of Armidale sits in a valley and smoke can become
trapped in specific conditions such as when there is low wind speed and
inversion layers.”

To minimise the impact of wood smoke, residents are advised
to buy quality wood that is dry and stored in a place away from moisture. Wood
from a Firewood Association of Australia supplier is also recommended to ensure
it is of appropriate quality.

“Other steps that can be taken include only burning dry, aged
hardwood, regularly cleaning out flues, and not letting your fire smoulder
overnight,” said Mr MacDonald.

“We have found Armidale’s air quality is at its worst in the
middle of the night, so putting your fire out before you go to bed will help
reduce smoke pollution.”

Insulating your home effectively is another important
strategy to improve heating efficiency and minimise the need to have your fire
going overnight.

It’s also recommended to regularly go outside and check how
much smoke is coming out of the chimney, as excessive smoke is a sign that the
heater is creating unnecessary emissions. Scientific research has shown that
wood smoke can have adverse health effects, and can heighten symptoms
associated with illnesses such as asthma, pneumonia and chronic bronchitis.

Mr MacDonald says it is crucial that we work together to
minimise these health impacts.

“Council is serious about improving Armidale’s air quality,
and with the help from the community, we can make sure we are minimising the
potentially harmful consequences that come from excessive wood smoke,” he said.

“We also have a number of helpful resources available on our
website for the community to refer to if they have any questions about using
wood heaters.”

To check for hourly updates on Armidale’s air quality, scroll
to the bottom of the homepage on Council’s website.

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