Home heating  

Home fires are a significant source of air pollution in some Otago towns.

We all breathe what we burn, so here are some Burn Dry, Breathe Easy tips that will ensure you get more heat from your firewood, and help reduce air pollution in your town.

Switching to a higher performing, or approved heating appliance can also greatly improve the air quality. 

 

Burn Dry Breathe Easy tips

  • Always make sure the wood you are burning is dry. It’s better for you, your home and the environment.
  • Stack your firewood off the ground, out of the rain and with plenty of airflow so it dries faster.
  • Purchase your firewood before Christmas to allow it dry out before the following winter.
  • Use a wood moisture meter to check if your firewood is dry enough to burn. Less than 25% moisture means more heat and reduced smoke.
  • A well-built fire of scrunched up paper, kindling, and firewood with plenty of airflow ensures a well-heated home and less smoke. 
  • Don’t burn wet or green firewood, treated wood or household rubbish as they can release harmful toxins into the air.  
  • To reduce smoke overnight, make sure you can still see flames when you turn your fire down.

Below you’ll find additional information, building on tips above.

 

 

Only burn dry wood or paper

A hot fire built with dry wood produces very little smoke. If you see dirty smoke coming from your chimney, it’s a sign your fire doesn’t have enough oxygen or you’re burning something toxic. Both release pollutants into the air. 

Burning dry wood gives you more heat from each log, warming your home faster. Your fire will also burn hotter, meaning less pollution. 

Have your flue swept once a year to improve air flow and help to prevent a chimney fire. 

     

Is your wood ready to burn?

  • Look
    • Dry wood is dull in colour.
  • Feel
    • Dry wood has a low moisture content, so it is much lighter than wet or freshly cut wood. 
  • Listen
    • When you knock two larger pieces together, they should sound hollow or produce a lighter “KLACK”ing sound. If the wood is too damp, it will sound like a dull “THUNK”. 
  • Take out the guess work
    • Use a wood moisture meter to check that your firewood has less than 25% moisture. Split a log, then take three readings from the split surface. While you could insert the pins on the meter into one end of a log, generally the ends of logs are drier than the inside. The display will show a moisture percentage. You can get wood moisture meters at most hardware stores. 

What not to burn

Burning these kinds of materials can release harmful toxins into the air. 

  • Treated wood
  • Off cuts from building sites (avoid treated wood, wood with nails, glue or other contaminants)
  • Old decking
  • Rubbish
  • Green waste
  • Plastic
  • Clothes
  • Electronics
  • Disposable nappies

Note: Burning coal is not permitted in Air Zone 1 towns. 

 

Approved heating appliances 

Different areas have different rules about the burner you can install.  

  • Air Zone 1 (Alexandra, Arrowtown, Clyde and Cromwell) and Milton: burners must have an emission rate less than 0.7 g/kg and a thermal efficiency of at least 65%.
     
  • Air Zones 2 and 3 (rest of Otago): burners must meet the MfE guidelines of an emission rate less than 1.5 g/kg and a thermal efficiency of at least 65%.

 

Appliances that are approved in Air Zone 1 and Milton are: 

  • Heat pumps (all models) 
  • Flued gas heaters 
  • Pellet fires 
  • Ultra-low emission wood burners (see table below): 

 

Ultra-low Emission Wood Burners

Brand and Model Type Water Heater
Froling S4 Turbo 15 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Froling S4 Turbo 22 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Froling S4 Turbo 28 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Froling S4 Turbo 38 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Froling S4 Turbo 40 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Bionic Fire Studio Freestanding None
RAIS Bionic Fire Freestanding None
T-ART Freestanding None
T-SKY eco 2 Freestanding None
Maxen Cargill 350-D Freestanding None
Maxen Cargill 350-W Freestanding None
Maxen St Clair 350-D Freestanding None
Maxen St Clair 350-W Freestanding None
Stella ULEB Freestanding None
Logaire LUF2000 ULEB Freestanding None
Logaire LUF2000 Woodbox ULEB Freestanding None
Logaire LUF3000 (ULEB) Freestanding None
Masport Cashmere pedestal (ULEB) Freestanding None
Masport Clutha Ash ULEB Freestanding None
Masport Clutha ULEB Freestanding None
Masport Clutha Woodbox ULEB Freestanding None
Masport Coronet pedestal (ULEB) Freestanding None
Masport Cromwell Freestanding None
Masport Hurunui (ULEB) Freestanding None
Masport Hurunui Ash (ULEB) Freestanding None
Masport Hurunui Leg (ULEB) Freestanding None
Masport Kaituna Ash Freestanding None
Masport Kaituna Leg Freestanding None
Masport Kaituna Pedestal Freestanding None
Masport Kaituna Wood stacker Freestanding None
Masport Mystique Freestanding None
Masport Rakaia Freestanding None
Masport Rangitata Beveled Fireplace insert None
Masport Waimakariri ASH Freestanding None
Masport Waimakariri LEG Freestanding None
Masport Waimakariri PED Freestanding None
Firenzo Lady Kitchener Ultra (Drawer) Freestanding None
Firenzo Lady Kitchener Ultra (Leg) Freestanding None
Firenzo Lady Kitchener Ultra (Pedestal) Freestanding None
Firenzo Lady Kitchener Ultra (Platform) Freestanding None
Blaze King Chinook CK20.NZ Freestanding None
Blaze King Chinook CK30.NZ Freestanding None
Blaze King Sirocco SC20L.NZ Freestanding None
Blaze King Sirocco SC20P.NZ Freestanding None
Blaze King Sirocco SC30L. NZ Freestanding None
Blaze King Sirocco SC30P. NZ Freestanding None
Metro Ultra Insert Fireplace insert None
Metro Ultra Tiny Rad Freestanding None
Metro Ultra Wee Rad Freestanding None
Metro Ultra Xtreme Rad Freestanding None
Metro Wee Rad Ultra Freestanding None
Pyro Classic Freestanding None
Pyro Mini Freestanding None
Jayline PR300CD (ULEB) Freestanding None
Jayline PR300CS (ULEB) Freestanding None
Jayline PR300DR (ULEB) Freestanding None
Jayline PR300WS (ULEB) Freestanding None
Jayline UL200 Freestanding None
Jayline Walltherm Air Freestanding None
Xeoos Twinfire X8 Freestanding None
ETA SH20 Gasification Boiler Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
ETA SH30 Gasification Boiler Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
ETA SH40 Gasification Boiler Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Tropicair Duo Freestanding None
Tropicair Duo Wet Freestanding Wetback
Tropicair Rua Freestanding None
Harris Ferva Saturn Freestanding None
Woodsman Coleridge (Leg) Freestanding None
Woodsman Coleridge (Pedestal) Freestanding None
Woodsman Kanaku ULEB Freestanding None
Woodsman Serene Freestanding None
Woodsman Serene Petite Freestanding None
Woodsman Serene WB Freestanding Wetback
     

Ultra-low Emission Pellet Burners

Brand and Model Type Water Heater
Easypell 16-20kW Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Easypell 25-32kW Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
FlumenFire Blenda Freestanding None
FlumenFire Coralla Freestanding None
FlumenFire Morgana Freestanding None
Froling PE1 25 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Froling PE1 30 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Froling PE1 35 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Attack Pellet 30 Automatic Plus Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Woodpecker Executive 25 kw Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Woodpecker Pellet Boilers (20kW) Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Woodpecker Pellet Boilers (30kW) Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Ecoflame FS-1 Freestanding None
Ecoflame FS-1 Freestanding Wetback
Oriel Freestanding None
Pellco Milford Pellet Fire (freestandin Freestanding None
Sirocco Slimline Freestanding None
Animo Adevo Freestanding None
Animo Avito Freestanding None
Animo Pure Freestanding None
Champion Duos Plus Freestanding None
Champion Ena Plus Freestanding None
Champion Tria Plus Freestanding None
Heatilator ECO-ADV-PS35 Freestanding None
Mia Whisper Freestanding None
Rika Como Freestanding None
Rika Como II Freestanding None
Rika Corso Freestanding None
Rika Cosmo Freestanding None
Rika Domo Pellet Fire Freestanding None
Rika Filo Pellet Fire Freestanding None
Rika Interno Fireplace insert None
Rika Kapo Freestanding None
Rika Livo Freestanding None
RIKA Memo 9kW Freestanding None
Rika Miro Freestanding None
Rika Pico Freestanding None
Rika Primo 6kW Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Rika Primo 8kW Freestanding None
Rika Revo Freestanding None
Rika Revo II Freestanding None
Rika Roco Freestanding None
Rika Sono Freestanding None
Rika Sumo Freestanding None
Rika Topo Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 16 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 20 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 25 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 32 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 36 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 48 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 56 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PES 64 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PESK 41 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PESK 55 Freestanding None
ÖkoFEN Pellematic PESK 64 Freestanding None
Parkwood Compact (damperless) Freestanding None
Parkwood Compact standard Freestanding None
Parkwood Maxi Standard Freestanding None
Enviro EF2 Classic FPI CB Fireplace insert None
Enviro EF2 Classic FS CB Freestanding None
Enviro EF3 Bayview FPI CB Fireplace insert None
Enviro EF3 Bayview FS CB Freestanding None
Enviro EF5 Evolution FS CB Freestanding None
Enviro Mini FS CB Freestanding None
Enviro Olympian FPI CB Fireplace insert None
Enviro Olympian FS CB Freestanding None
Ravelli Camino Fireplace insert None
Ravelli Corina RBV 8010 compact Fireplace insert None
Ravelli Dual 7 Freestanding None
Ravelli Elena Freestanding None
Ravelli Elena RV100 Freestanding None
Ravelli Monica Freestanding None
Ravelli Natural 7 Freestanding None
Ravelli Pompeii HRV 140 Touch Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Ravelli Rosa R70 Freestanding None
Ravelli Sara Fireplace insert None
Ravelli Sofia RBV 7010 Compact Fireplace insert None
Ravelli Sri Amalfi Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
Ravelli Whisper 7 Freestanding None
Metro Bay FS Freestanding None
Metro Bay Insert Fireplace insert None
ETA PC25 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
ETA PC32 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler
ETA PU 11 Freestanding Hot Water Boiler

 

Who can I talk with about heating my home more efficiently? 

Cosy Homes Trust  

The Cosy Homes Trust offers Otago residents free guidance about how to access subsidies for heating and insulation. They also provide general advice on keeping your home warm, dry and energy efficient. cosyhomes.org.nz

 

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)  

EECA’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme covers up to 80-90% of the cost for ceiling and underfloor insulation and up to 80% of the cost of heating appliances (heating appliance capped at $3,000). eeca.govt.nz

 

Home heating FAQs

 

My neighbour’s chimney is smoking badly. What can I do? 

Speak with your neighbour or contact the ORC Pollution Hotline on 0800 800 033 (24/7). We will need the address, date and time, a photo if possible and a description of your complaint. 

 

Can I burn coal?

You can’t burn coal in Alexandra, Arrowtown, Clyde, Cromwell or Milton. Elsewhere in Otago, you may burn coal so long as the smoke doesn’t cross your boundary and annoy your neighbours.

 

What does dirty burning look like?

Dirty burning produces dark grey, black or brown smoke. There should be a small amount of smoke being emitted from your chimney for the first few minutes while your fire gets going. After the fire is hot there should be very little visible smoke.

 

 

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