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Minimise smoke from your fireplace

Kūtia te paoa mai i tō pākaiahi

​Decrease smoke from your domestic fire through these energy efficient practices. Aim to produce little or no smoke from your chimney.​

What you can burn

  • Burn dry, well-seasoned wood that has been split properly. Dry wood has large cracks at the end of the log.
  • Burn low-sulphur coal (0.5 per cent or less by weight). High-sulphur coal produces more smoke, odour and harmful emissions.

What you can't burn

  • Don't use wet wood.
  • Never use green wood.
  • Never use treated timber. These generate toxic substances.
  • Don't burn rubbish, glossy paper and wrappers. These produce chemicals and odorous smoke.

How to start your fire

  • Stack wood loosely in the firebox so air can circulate.
  • Use enough kindling.
  • Start the fire with paper, dry kindling or an approved commercially available fire lighter. Never use accelerants such as petrol.
  • Do not put too much firewood in at first.

Once your fire is alight

  • Keep the fire burning brightly. The brighter the fire, the less smoke it produces.
  • Burn smaller logs rather than trying to burn a single, large log.
  • Keep the air control open for at least 30 minutes.
  • When you add logs, open up the air control to high for at least 20 to 30 minutes before turning it down.
  • Don't keep the fire burning overnight.
  • Don’t add a full load of wood when there are only a few glowing embers. This causes excessive smoke for long periods.

Maintain your burner or fireplace

  • Regularly remove ashes from the burner or fireplace.
  • Have your woodburner checked if it is smoking excessively.
  • Have a professional clean your chimney or flue every year.
  • Do not repair your woodburner as this is unsafe.
  • If your burner is more than 10 years old, upgrade to an authorised woodburner, heat pump, flued gas or pellet fire.

Collect and store firewood

  • Split your logs. Logs dry faster when split, so split wood into pieces about 10cm thick before storing.
  • Stack wood loosely off the ground in a criss-cross pattern to let dry air circulate around it.
  • Get your wood supply in the summer. Freshly cut wood needs to be stored for 8-12 months to allow it to season properly for good burning.

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