Help us reduce wood smoke pollution this winter

2 April, 2014Posted in: Environment

Wood fire smoke

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will be lending its support to Wingecarribee Shire Council this winter in an effort to help reduce wood smoke across the Shire.

Council has received $35,200 in grant funding for the NSW Government’s Wood Smoke Reduction Program 2014. The program will be supported by staff funded through Council’s Environment Levy.

Council’s Environment and Sustainability Manager, Barry Arthur, said excessive wood smoke was a common complaint during the cooler months.

“Faulty and incorrectly used wood fire heaters can seriously affect our air quality,” he said.

“In the coming months Council will be reminding residents of their responsibilities in ensuring their wood heaters are working correctly and they’re doing their bit to minimise the harmful effects of smoke pollution on the environment and their neighbours.”

As part of the EPA grant, Council will advertise the importance of correctly working wood heaters and the potential air and health quality issues surrounding faulty chimneys.

“The funding from this grant will be primarily used to alert owners of an issue they may not even be aware of,” Mr Arthur added.

“Apart from the obvious health and environmental benefits of a proper burning fire, owners may also find their fireplaces can run more effectively and economically if they follow a few simple steps.”

Some suggestions of the Wood Smoke Reduction Program include:

  • Clean your chimney every year at a minimum,
  • Ensure you are only burning dry seasoned wood,
  • Regulate your heat load by the amount of fuel load in the heater,
  • Do not overfill your wood heater,
  • Stack small pieces of wood to encourage air flow and heat,
  • Only use the wood heater’s fan when the heater is hot, and
  • Do not close the damper off on your fire as this limits the air flow to the fire causing wood to smoulder, which in turn creates minimal heat and excessive wood smoke.

“Many of the tips may sound like common sense, but it’s important residents check their chimneys nonetheless, Mr Arthur said. “If your chimney has obvious smoke it could mean it’s not operating as efficiently as it could be.”

For more information on using your wood heater visit or contact Council’s Sustainability Projects Officer on phone 4868 0888.