Woodsmoke & Health
Posted 2nd January, 2012 by Development and Environment Team
In 2003 Tumut Shire Council participated in the Woodsmoke Reduction Program conducted by the NSW EPA . Tumut Shire, like many other towns in colder climate areas, has a relatively high percentage of wood heater use. It is also located in a valley, and in winter, atmospheric conditions can prevent the woodsmoke from dispersing.
How can I reduce Woodsmoke?
Smoke from wood heaters is a major cause of air pollution in winter. Not only is a smoking fire wasting money, but the air pollution it causes can also affect our health. You can minimise air pollution by:
- Always burning small logs of aged, dry hardwood – unseasoned wood has more moisture which makes a heater smoke
- Storing wood under cover in a dry ventilated area; freshly cut wood needs to be stored for 8-12 months.
- Never burning rubbish, driftwood or treated or painted wood, which can pollute the air and can be poisonous.
- Using plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly when lighting a cold fire.
- Stacking wood loosely in your firebox so air can circulate – don’t cram the firebox full.
- Keeping 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.
- Opening the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15-20 minutes after reloading.
- Not letting your heater smoulder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
- Checking your chimney regularly – if there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
- Cleaning the chimney every year to prevent creosote build up.
- Creosote is a sticky black residue that can build up in your chimney—it restricts air flow and makes your fire harder to start. A creosote-clogged chimney can spill smoke into your room when you open the heater, and even catch fire, putting your home at risk.
For more information on Woodsmoke visit:
NSW Environment (and Heritage) Page: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/woodsmoke/index.htm
Australian Government: http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/publications/woodsmoke.html