With winter just around the corner residents are being asked to do their bit to improve local air quality by ensuring they are using wood heaters correctly.
With winter fast approaching, Lithgow Council is asking residents to consider the environment and local air quality through the correct use of wood heaters.
“The incorrect use of wood heaters can seriously affect our air quality,” said Lithgow Council Mayor Councillor Maree Statham. “On colder days, wood smoke particles from inefficient heaters can be seen as a smoke haze that sometimes sits over built up areas. This pollution is not only unsightly, but can also be bad for our health” added the Mayor.
Wood smoke can cause breathing difficulties, especially for people suffering from respiratory conditions such as young children and frail elderly people.
Some simple tips to reduce wood smoke pollution are:
- Don’t let your heater smolder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
- Burn only dry, aged hardwood in your wood heater. Unseasoned wood has a higher moisture content which creates excess smoke.
- Store your wood under cover in a dry, ventilated area. Freshly cut wood generally needs to be stored for eight to twelve months.
- Never burn rubbish, driftwood, painted or treated wood. These pollute the air and can produce poisonous gases.
- When lighting a cold heater, use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.
- Use several small logs rather than one large log and stack them loosely in your heater, so air can circulate around them. Don’t cram the firebox.
- Keep the flame lively and bright. Your fire should only smoke when you first light it and when you add extra fuel. Open the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15 to 20 minutes after reloading the heater.
- Check your chimney regularly to see how well your fire is burning. If there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
- Have the chimney cleaned every year.
- If you are buying a wood heater, make sure it has a compliance plate showing it meets the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 4013:1999).
“I urge all residents who utilise wood heating to heed these simple tips. It all helps to improve air quality, reduce health impacts and enhance Lithgow’s reputation as a clean place to live,” concluded Mayor Statham.
To provide environmental protection & leadership and ‘Enhancing our Natural Environment’ Strategies in the Community Strategic Plan 2026 by protecting public health and the environment in the Lithgow Local Government area.
Mr Andrew Muir
Group Manager Environment & Development
Tel: 02 6354 9999
Fax: 02 6351 4259