Wood heaters and wood smoke
While wood heaters are not specifically prohibited in Western Australia, operators have a responsibility to ensure they are operated correctly so they do not cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties. Common complaints the Town receives are relating to smoke emissions, particularly concerns for young children with asthma and smoke odour affecting clothes on washing lines.
An excessively smoky wood heater causes reduced air quality and can have significant health impacts. The fine particles produced by wood smoke are particularly dangerous to people who have existing respiratory problems, such as those with asthma.
A correctly operated wood heater shouldn't emit any smoke apart from a short time after it is lit. Always go outside and check your chimney to see if it is smoky. You can use the Department of Water & Environment Regulation's chimney checker to assist.
Try these tips to reduce smoke from your wood heater:
- Store firewood in a dry place.
- Burn only dry seasoned wood, and never rubbish or treated wood.
- Use plenty of kindling and paper to establish a hot bright fire quickly.
- Don't overload the firebox - ensure there is plenty of space for air to circulate.
- Keep air controls fully open for 15-20 minutes after lighting or refuelling.
- Maintain airflow to the fire all night.
- Clean your chimney annually.
- Buy a wood heater compliant with Australian Standards (clearly labelled with the words ‘TESTED TO AS/NZS 4013:2014’).
- Consider installing a flued gas heater or reverse cycle air conditioner instead.
The Department of Water and Environment Regulation's Burnwise website has a variety of brochures to download on the following topics:
- Buying and selling wood heaters in Western Australia
- Home heating options and air quality
- Troubleshooting your smoky chimney
- Wood heaters and your health
- Store right, burn bright, breathe alright
- Smoke from backyard barbeques, chimineas and outdoor pizza ovens
- Backyard burning