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Domestic Wood Heater Smoke

Wood heaters have been found to be a major contributor to the growing particulate pollution (haze) problem in the Perth metropolitan area. The management of wood fire smoke is an important factor in the long-term management of Perth’s air quality, and the minimisation of any adverse health impacts.

The City’s Health Service investigates complaints regarding excessive smoke being emitted from domestic wood heaters. Wood heaters that are working efficiently and burning brightly will reduce the amount of smoke produced and minimize nuisance smoke to surrounding properties.

Here are some tips for correct wood heater operation:

  • Always run your heater on high for 20 to 25 minutes when starting up or refuelling. 
  • Do not overfill your heater.  This results in poor air circulation creating smoke.
  • Add paper if coals are nearly out when refueling.  This creates an ignition source.
  • Use ample, dry kindling when lighting your heater.  This produces a quick hot fire.
  • Put some crumpled newspaper on top of the wood load when lighting.  This warms the flue resulting in less smoke.
  • Allow 2cm between logs.  This ensures adequate air flow resulting in a more efficient fire resulting in less smoke.
  • Do not obstruct air flow with a log across the front.  Restricting air flow produces smoke.
  • Use only dry firewood.  This will ensure the fire lights quickly and burns efficiently minimising the amount of smoke produced.
  • Regularly check to see how much smoke is produced after lighting your heater.  This will reveal if your heater is burning efficiently.
  • Routinely check and clean the flue.  Removing any excess build-up of soot will ensure the fire receives sufficient draught for an efficiently burning fire.  Fires that burn efficiently burn cleanly resulting in minimal future soot build up.
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