Winter is coming! Let’s burn smoke-free for better air quality
As the temperature starts to drop, Taupō District households fire up their wood burners to heat up their homes.
Unfortunately, Waikato Regional Council air quality monitoring has shown this is linked to poor air quality in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning when households use domestic wood burners.
The good news is this issue can be remedied, but we need your help.
Replacing your old wood burner with a low-emission alternative such as a heat pump has the largest impact, but we understand that this is not affordable for all households.
Fortunately, anyone with a wood burner can make small changes, at no additional cost, to enjoy warmer, longer lasting, lower maintenance fires. In fact, with good technique, it’s even possible to burn completely smoke-free.
The trick is to use only dry wood (and a little paper to get things going of course) and to follow tried and tested steps to ensure good airflow.
Six steps to smoke-free success:
- Layer - Start with a generous layer of paper knots. Newspaper is great and adding scrunched-up pieces to the front as well makes it easier to light. Then, add your kindling, leaving lots of air gaps. A criss-cross pattern helps to elevate your logs to create good air flow. Next, stack two or three smaller logs around it in a pyramid shape.
- Light - Light your fire. Leave the door slightly open and set the air flow to high until the kindling is well alight. Then shut the door.
- Look - After 15 minutes, step outside to check your chimney. If you’re doing it right, there should be no visible smoke at all. If you still see some, don’t worry, it just means there’s room to improve next time.
- Load - Add a second load of smaller logs. Then wait another five to 10 minutes until the wood is charring and making a ‘bricking’ pattern.
- Reload - Add one or two bigger logs. After about an hour, these should be well alight and creating a nice bricking pattern too. At this point, you can reload with a few more of your bigger logs as required to keep it burning well.
- Relax - About 15 minutes after adding the new big logs, you can turn the airflow down to keep your toasty fire burning longer.
Once you’ve mastered it, you should see no smoke at all. If you do still see some though, keep persevering, it can take some time to get it just right.
For more information on improving air quality in Taupō, head to www.taupo.govt.nz/airquality. Let's work together to improve the air quality in our district this winter.