Is Your Wood Heater Costing You Money?
It is that time of year again when everyone is trying to keep warm. Wood heaters that are not properly managed may cause respiratory problems, waste hundreds of dollars a year and harm our environment.
Before using your wood heater inspect flue/chimney for build up of soot, holes or leaks and remove excessive ash.
To ensure your wood heater operates correctly and efficiently:
1. Burn dry, seasoned, untreated wood
Dry seasoned wood burns best. An unseasoned (recently cut) log of firewood can contain about two litres of water. Buying your wood in the summer months from a reputable supplier and storing it properly can save you up to 40% of your operating costs.
Wood from old furniture, pallets or house renovations are not considered appropriate to burn as these materials are often treated.
2. Store your Wood in a dry, ventilated area
Keep your woodpile staked in a criss-cross way covered in a well-ventilated area so that the wood stays dry.
3. Start Small
Use smaller dry kindling to get your fire established and larger logs for slower burning. Arrange the logs so that air circulates and better combustion is achieved.
4. Burn Brightly
When lighting a cold wood heater, make sure that sufficient, dry kindling is used to establish a good flame. Place two or three crumpled sheets of newspaper and small pieces of wood onto the fire load when first lighting the heater. This burns rapidly, heats the flue and gets the draught going. The heater should run on a high burn rate (air controls fully open) for five minutes before and 15 to 20 minutes after adding more logs.
If the heater flue is producing smoke for 20 minutes after lighting or refuelling the fire, simply adjust the fuel load and increase the air settings. The heater's flue should be cleaned every year to prevent flue fires.
If a neighbour’s wood heater is smoking excessively talk to them about the problem and work together to find a solution. Free mediation services are available from the South Australian Community Legal Centre on 8384 1800.
For more practical advice on the effective and efficient use of wood heaters contact the Environment Protection Authority SA on 8204 2000 or the City of Mitcham on 8372 8816.