Wood heaters tend to smoke at light-up or refuelling. However, there is no reason for wood heaters to smoke excessively for long periods of time if they are operated correctly and are well maintained. If you are considering purchasing a new wood heater, remember to check with the retailer to see if the appliance you are considering to purchase complies with the relevant AS/NZS Standards under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clear Air) Amendment (Solid Fuel Heaters) Regulation 2016.
The wood heater must have a compliance plate stating that it conforms to the Australian Standard for pollution emissions (AS/NZS 4013:2014) and efficiency (AS/NZS 4012:2014). If it doesn't you might consider upgrading your heater to a newer more efficient model.
A few tips for using your wood heater for minimum smoke:
- Burn only untreated dry seasoned hardwood
- Keep the flame lively and bright
- Keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame or let it go out overnight
- Clean the wood heater flue and baffle regularly
- Store wood under cover in a dry ventilated area
To find out more about reducing wood smoke pollution visit:
Making a complaint
When wood smoke is a problem, Council advises that you first try to solve the problem amicably by talking to the person who is causing the excessive smoke. This approach also helps to maintain good relations with your neighbour.
If this is unsuccessful in resolving the matter, a complaint can be lodged to Council in writing, by phone or in person. Each complaint received is assessed against the following criteria:
- Is there a public health risk and
- Is the issue impacting on the broader public or can it be resolved privately
Based on the above criteria, Council determines if the complaint requires further investigation or if the matter can be resolved independently of Council through the Community Justice Centre. If the above criteria have been satisfied, Council can investigate the matter and determine the appropriate action.
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 provides regulatory powers for local councils to issue smoke abatement notices. These notices may be issued where a household has been given information on correct wood heater operation but makes little or no effort to prevent excessive emissions of wood smoke. A smoke abatement notice directs the person to whom the notice is issued to ensure that the excessive smoke is not emitted from the chimney at any time after 21 days following the giving of the notice.
P: 02 6648 4000
A: Locked Bag 155, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450