Wood Heaters and Fires

View from Warragamba Lookout

Solid fuel home heaters are also known as ‘slow combustion heaters/ cookers’, ‘pot belly stoves’, ‘wood fire heaters’ or ‘tile fires’.

Approval is required from Council for the installation of a wood or oil fueled heater, under Section 68 of the Local Government Act, 1993. Wood heaters must be installed in accordance with the Australian Building Code and Australian Standard AS/NZS 2918 to ensure the safety of the house, its occupants and the environment.

If you already have a wood fire heater, please take care to ensure you are not generating an excessive amount of smoke that could be negatively affecting your neighbours. The use of these heaters can create health problems particularly for people suffering from asthma, young children and older people. When operating your wood heater, please minimise the likelihood of excessive smoke generation by:

  • Burning only dry, well-seasoned, chemically untreated wood.
  • Using smaller logs instead of only one large log.
  • Not packing the fire too full, as it starves the fire of oxygen and causes it to smoulder.
  • Storing your wood under cover in a dry, ventilated area. Freshly cut wood needs to be stored for at least eight to twelve months.
  • Never burning painted or treated wood or rubbish.
  • Using plenty of dry kindling to get the fire burning quickly and brightly the faster you can get the fire going the less smoke there will be.
  • Checking the outside of your chimney - if there is visible smoke, increase the airflow to the fire.
  • Regularly removing ash and unburnt coals from the hearth of the fire.
  • Ensuring your chimneys and flues are cleaned out once a year.

Prevention Notices and fines can be issued under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, 1997 if the heater is being used in an environmentally unsatisfactory manner.

Relevant Links

Environmental Protection Authority