In order to achieve the best performance from your wood heater or open fireplace by producing efficient heat with a minimal amount of smoke, you should:
• Have your heater professionally checked and cleaned prior to using it e.g. before Autumn begins. Ensure all built up creosote is removed
• Use the right type of timber - always burn dry, well-seasoned wood. As a general rule, do not burn any old or waste timber such as old building and fence materials, offcuts from building construction or railway sleepers. Such timbers will have either been treated with a preservative agent or may have been contaminated by chemical substances.
• Always burn small logs of aged, dry hardwood – unseasoned wood has more moisture and is more likely to smoke.
• Store firewood under cover in a dry ventilated area; freshly cut wood needs to be stored for 8–12 months.
• When lighting a cold heater use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.
• Stack wood loosely in the firebox so air can circulate – don't cram the firebox full.
• Turn off the warm air circulation fan when lighting up and when refuelling.
• Keep the flame lively and bright; your fire should only smoke for a few minutes when you first light it and when you add extra fuel. Open the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15–20 minutes after reloading.
• Don't let your heater smoulder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
• Check your chimney regularly – if there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
• Understand how to operate your wood heater or open fireplace correctly. For tips on efficient lighting and burning of firewood, go to EPA Victoria's website
Once you have started your fire, go outside occasionally and check the chimney for smoke – if there is excessive smoke, then something is wrong with your heater/fireplace or the way in which you are using it.