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Burn ‘warmer, cheaper’ this winter to help improve our air quality

Wednesday, May 31, 2023   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: housing, heating, pollution, campaign

Environment Canterbury media release: 30th May 2023

As the infamous Canterbury frosts start to bite, people across the region are firing up their wood burners to stay warm.

We all want to improve our air quality so we can have cleaner, healthier air to breathe.
Our Warmer Cheaper campaign is all about using your wood burner efficiently so your household can:

  • stay cosy all winter;
  • spend less money on wood; and
  • produce less smoke from home heating.

There are three main ingredients to a smoke-free fire:

  1. good dry wood;
  2. better burning techniques; and
  3. a well-maintained wood burner.

Good, dry wood

Check out the list of Trusted Good Wood merchants on the Warmer Cheaper website for sources of good wood near you. We audit these businesses regularly to ensure they have a stock of good, dry wood available.

The Warmer Cheaper website also includes information about the pros and cons of different types of firewood. Drying time varies significantly between woods, so while plantation pine and Douglas fir will be dry and ready to burn after 1 to 2 years, macrocarpa needs 3 to 5 years of drying time before it will burn cleanly, and blue gum needs 5 to 6 years.

Avoiding wet wood

Sometimes what seems like a good deal on firewood from a roadside wood seller can turn out to be a bad investment, as the wood may not have been 'seasoned' (dried out) for long enough to burn efficiently.

You can test your firewood’s moisture content yourself using a moisture meter available from home improvement shops.

If you want help testing the moisture content of your wood, give us a call on 0800 324 636.

Better burning techniques

Most of us have been taught to put big logs on the bottom of the wood burner, then smaller logs, then kindling, and then paper on top. A more efficient alternative is the upside-down fire-building method, which burns for longer without needing to be topped up.

Videos and a step-by-step guide to the upside-down fire technique are available on the Warmer Cheaper website.

A modern, well-maintained wood burner and clean chimney

It’s important to keep your burner in good condition so it can burn as efficiently as possible. If smoke is coming into the room or you notice your wood burner isn’t burning as hot as usual, it’s probably time to check your burner and/or get your chimney swept.

Our handy burner maintenance checklist will help you through the process.