Wood heater Wise – how not to smoke your neighbours out Nambucca Valley Nambucca Valley News by News Of The Area - Modern Media - August 2, 2021 Many people don’t realize that smoke from their wood heaters and fireplaces can present a real hazard to their neighbours. IF you can smell it, you’re already breathing it. That’s the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) warning to the community as residents hunker into the chilly temperatures, stoking their woodheaters…and smoking out their neighbours. Macksville residents, remaining anonymous, are concerned about the smoky atmosphere experienced around parts of town most evenings. Lack of knowledge about how to light and maintain a safe wood fire in the home is the main reason for smoke-filled air especially during the evening. Education is required according to the EPA and welcomed by the Macksville residents. Local councils receive hundreds of complaints about neighbourhood wood smoke every winter and endeavour to educate residents about correct wood heater use. The EPA states that woodsmoke is made up of very small particles that can be taken directly into the lungs and contains several toxic and cancer-causing agents. Many people don’t realize that smoke from their wood heaters and fireplaces can present a real hazard to their neighbours, causing physical discomfort for those with respiratory problems, especially older people and young children. A NSW Environment Protection Authority spokesperson told News Of The Area some useful tips for better wood heater operation. “Harmful wood smoke pollution can be drastically reduced if wood heaters are used correctly. “Check your heaters comply with the standard. “New heaters are cleaner burning and more efficient than older-style wood heaters and open fires. “A slow combustion heater will produce less pollution than a pot-belly stove or open fire because the fire is sealed in an airtight box. “Carefully consider the quality of the fuel used and how it is stored. “Learn good techniques for loading kindling and firewood into the heater and lighting the fire. “Allow plenty of air at light-up and refuelling of the heater. “Turn off the warm air circulation fan at light-up and refuelling. “Go outside from time to time to check how much smoke is coming from your chimney. “Have the flue cleaned at least once per year.” By Andrea FERRARI Check outside for smoke when your wood heater is alight.