Don’t let money go up in smoke this winter

WSROC president Councillor Stephen Bali

WSROC president Councillor Stephen Bali

Sydney had its first taste of winter weather last week, causing many people to pull out their coats, blankets and heaters.

There are many ways to heat your home over the cooler months, but regardless of which method you choose, maximising your home’s ability to hold onto heat is important for keeping heating bills under control.

Properly insulating your home, sealing off draughts, investing in good window coverings, and closing off rooms that don’t require heating, will save you money in the long term.

For those using a wood heaters or open fireplace, it is also important to ensure your fireplace is working efficiently.

If you can see or smell smoke from your wood heater you are not only wasting money, but causing a problem for yourself, your family and your neighbours. Smoke from wood heaters is a major cause of air pollution that can contribute to health conditions such as asthma, heart and lung disease. The young, elderly, and those suffering existing conditions are at greatest risk from wood smoke.

Smoke is also a sign that your wood heater isn’t working as efficiently as it should. Smokey fires burn up your fuel but give off less warmth.

The following tips will help you reduce smoke and get the most from your wood heater.

Have your chimney cleaned once every year to prevent residue build-up and maximise airflow.

Burn only dry, aged hardwood. Freshly cut wood has lots of moisture, which causes smoke. Never burn rubbish, driftwood, painted or treated wood as they can produce poisonous gases.

Don’t cram the firebox full. Stack several small logs loosely in your heater so air can circulate. Keep the flame lively and bright. Your fire should only smoke when you first light it and when you add extra fuel.

Don’t let your fire smoulder overnight. Keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame. Store your wood undercover in a dry, ventilated area.

If you are buying a wood heater, make sure it meets the Australian Standard and obtain the relevant council approvals prior to installation.

By maintaining a healthy fireplace, you will not only contribute to a healthier community, but save money on heating bills.

Councillor Stephen Bali

 President, WSROC