Reduce pollution from wood heaters this winter

Horsham Rural City Council is reminding residents to use their wood heaters efficiently in order to help reduce air pollution.

Environmental Health Co-Ordinator Luke Mitton said while wood heaters were a great source of winter warmth, problems could arise if they were not operated correctly.

“Wood heaters can be a major contributor of air pollution in our urban areas and can negatively impact upon our health,” Mr Mitton said.

“This winter, a number of residents have contacted Council concerned about the pollution from wood heaters, so we’re encouraging people with wood heaters to follow a few simple steps before burning.”

To reduce pollution from wood heaters:

  • Use plenty of dry kindling
  • Burn dry and seasoned wood (to check this, bang wood together – it should make a ‘crack’ sound rather than a dull thud)
  • Use several small logs and stack them loosely in your heater (so air can circulate around them)
  • After reloading, open air controls for at least 20 minutes
  • Don’t let your heater smoulder overnight – maintain a flame in the fire and only turn down the airflow when you have a hot bed of charcoal
  • Inspect and clean the flue at least once a year and check it regularly to see if smoke is being emitted (wood heaters should only smoke for 20 minutes when first lit and just after reloading)

Mr Mitton encouraged residents affected by smoke from wood fire heaters on neighbouring properties to attempt to resolve the issue amicably.

“If after talking to your neighbour and you don’t see an improvement, contact Council,” he said.

If you are experiencing excessive smoke emissions from your wood heater or if you are concerned with smoke coming from a neighbour’s wood heater, contact Council’s Environmental Health Unit on (03) 5382 9777.

For more tips and information visit the EPA website.

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