Community Scoop

How good is your wood?

Press Release – Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Rotorua residents are being challenged to make sure their wood is good – get it now and give it time to season. How good is your wood? For immediate release: Monday 5 March, 2012

Rotorua residents are being challenged to make sure their wood is good – get it now and give it time to season.

Burning dry, seasoned wood means warmer homes and less air pollution.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has issued this challenge to residents to get ready for winter now as part of a long-term programme to improve Rotorua’s air quality.

Group Manager Strategic Development Fiona McTavish said around fifty percent of Rotorua residents planned in advance to make sure their wood was dry by getting it well before the winter months arrived.

“But we want even more people to plan ahead for winter – so that everyone can benefit,” Ms McTavish said.

“By planning ahead you can make sure the wood you burn in winter to heat your home is dry and ready to burn,” she said.

“Burning dry wood means homes are warmer and our air is cleaner.

“Whether you source your own wood, or buy it, it is important that you get good firewood early, stack it properly and let it dry,” Ms McTavish said.

“Wood takes at least six months to season or dry properly. Burning wet or green wood creates more air pollution.”

Pollution caused by burning wet wood and inefficient home fires can cause adverse health effects, The most vulnerable being the elderly, the very young, and those who already have respiratory problems, such as asthma, Ms McTavish said.

For more information on how to store wood correctly and clean wood burning tips visit or see below. FURTHER INFORMATION

Storing Firewood Dry and correctly stored wood will produce a cleaner, hotter and more efficient fire.

To get firewood dry: 1 Get it early, well before the winter months. Wood takes at least six months to dry. And always store more wood that you think you will need. 2 Split your wood to a maximum of 15cm thickness. 3 Stack it properly. Stacking your wood loosely to allow air to flow through the pile will help it dry. 4 Store your wood off the ground to protect it from ground moisture. An old wooden pallet is ideal. 5 Cover it well. Store your firewood in a sheltered place to protect it from the weather. Cover the pile wood to protect it from the rain. A tarpaulin is an easy way to cover your wood pile.

Clean wood burning tips Use your wood burner so it produces efficient heat with less smoke.

Start your fire so that heat output is increased and smoke emissions are reduced: 1 Open air controls fully and leave them open for 30 minutes after lighting the fire to let good air flow into the heater 2 Get the fire hot as quickly as possible by using dry kindling and plenty of paper 3 Place wood into the heater with at least a 2cm space around the pieces to allow good air circulation 4 By splitting logs you can reduce emissions by 40 percent (compared to burning unsplit wood).

Keeping your fire burning brightly • Wait for the fire to be fully established before adding more wood or other fuel • Allow the air to circulate – add wood with space between pieces • Open air controls fully for a few minutes before adding the fuel. After reloading wait until the fire is burning fiercely before turning down the air controls • Don’t overload your heater • Clean your flue or chimney at least once a year to remove soot and tar build-up. This will increase the heat of your fire and reduce the smoke emissions

Quick ways to tell your fire is burning well • The wood and embers are glowing and there are bright swirling flames • Go outside and check your chimney occasionally. About 15 minutes after lighting your fire your chimney or flue should only be giving off a heat haze with no visible smoke.

What to do if you have a smoky fire Dark, smouldering wood and lots of smoke suggest the wood is not being burning fully. This reduces the heat made from your fire and causes excess smoke and pollution. • Check the wood you are using is dry. The Regional Council has a wood moisture tester. Call 0800 884 880 to make an appointment to test your wood • Get your wood burner checked and cleaned at least once a year • Upgrade your heating appliance. Old wood burners and open fires create more smoke than the clean burning models available. The Regional Council offers the Hot Swap Loan to upgrade old wood burners and open fires to a clean heat alternative. Call 0800 468 792 or visit for more information.


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