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.