Burn brighter this winter

THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tasmania is urging wood heater operators to burn their wood heater brightly this winter to help reduce the amount of smoke in the air.

Wood heater smoke tends to linger around homes and neighbourhoods on still winter days and nights.

This is a real problem for many people, such as those with heart and lung diseases, as the particles in the smoke can aggravate their condition when breathed.

EPA Tasmania’s Dr John Innis said that in recent years, the organisation had undertaken air quality monitoring in parts of Glenorchy.

“We have found high levels of wood smoke particles, especially on cold, calm winter nights,” he said.

“To reduce the amount of smoke, wood heater operators should burn their fire brightly so that less smoke goes up the flue to the air outside.

“A bright fire burns the chemicals that would otherwise make smoke.”

Dr Innis recommended following the EPAs “Burn Brighter this Winter” steps to reduce wood heater smoke.

These steps include:

  • Only burn dry, seasoned firewood.
  • Make sure you have a clean flue.
  • Always burn with a flame – don’t let your fire smoulder.
  • After reloading your wood heater, open the air control and burn the fire on high for 20-minutes, especially before going to bed.

Dr Innis said wood heater users should check the level of smoke coming out of their chimney every so often.

“If there is regularly a lot of smoke coming out, it tells you that you need to modify how you operate the heater and also check its condition,” he said.

“It’s also really important to never let your fire smoulder, as this creates a lot of smoke.

“By following these steps, your neighbours will breathe easy and you’ll stay toasty warm.

“You’ll also save money, because smoke going up the chimney is just unburned fuel.”

When wood heaters are used correctly, smoke emissions can be reduced by up to 90 per cent, compared to when using poor operating practices.

For more information about how to burn brighter this winter, visit www.epa.tas.gov.au.

Caption: From left, Alicia Wilson, Tara Patmore and Tracy Tavasz with the “Burn Brighter this Winter” display, located at the Glenorchy City Council.