Maintaining your wood heater this winter

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Central Goldfields Shire Council is reminding all households using an open fireplace or wood heater to ensure care is taken to prevent producing excessive amounts of smoke, which can have a negative impact on your neighbours and the environment.

Tips to avoid excessive smoke emissions:

  • Have your heater professionally checked and cleaned prior to using it e.g. before autumn begins. Ensure all built up creosote is removed
  • Always burn small logs of aged, dry hardwood
  • Store firewood under cover in a dry ventilated area; freshly cut wood needs to be stored for 8–12 months.
  • When lighting a cold heater use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.
  • Stack wood loosely in the firebox so air can circulate – don’t cram the firebox full.
  • Turn off the warm air circulation fan when lighting up and when refuelling.
  • Keep the flame lively and bright; your fire should only smoke for a few minutes when you first light it and when you add extra fuel. Open the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15–20 minutes after reloading.
  • Don’t let your heater smoulder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
  • Check your chimney regularly – if there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
  • Understand how to operate your wood heater or open fireplace correctly. For tips on efficient lighting and burning of firewood, go to EPA Victoria’s website
  • Once you have started your fire, go outside occasionally and check the chimney for smoke – if there is excessive smoke, then something is wrong with your heater/fireplace or the way in which you are using it.

Central Goldfields Shire Council General Manager Community Wellbeing Martin Collins said with the weather now getting cooler, it is now time for residents with a wood heater to check their chimney.

“Winter is now here and if you have a wood heater, please make sure your chimney is not emitting excessive amounts of smoke. By doing this, we can make sure we can stay warm this winter guilt-free,” he said.

Central Goldfields Shire Council’s Emergency Management Co-ordinator Belinda McKnight urged residents to ensure their wood heater is in good working order.

“It’s that time of year when many local residents light their wood heaters and by following these safety tips, we can minimise any negative impacts on our neighbours and look after the environment at the same time,” she said.

The Central Goldfields Shire Compliance and Environmental Health Team are available on 5461 0624 or 0429 016 365 if you have any concerns about the use of chimneys within the Shire.

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