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Air quality in winter

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Air quality in winter

In the winter season we see a decline in air quality mainly due to smoke from woodburners and domestic fires. 

To avoid smoking out your neighbour and causing dirty air, it's important you use dry wood and are fire smart. Here's some great tips for burning better. 

Use dry wood. It gives more heat and causes less pollution. 
Wood needs around 12 months to dry out before burning. Hardwoods or those with more sap need longer.

Keep your wood dry.  Store the wood undercover out of the rain and make sure air can flow around it. A woodshed's great, or under the eaves or along a fence line. 

Check your fireplace. Clean the flue or chimney every year.  

Never burn rubbish, treated wood or painted timber, they release toxic chemicals. 

Check the smoke coming out of your chimney. A clear emission usually means an efficient fire and less pollution. 

To get your fire off to a good start

Use plenty of crumpled paper, or a fire starter block, and dry kindling. If you're using a woodburner, keep all the air vents wide open.

It's important to start with small pieces of wood and gradually add bigger bits as the fire builds up. Don't be tempted to put large logs on too soon, thinking it'll get warm faster - it will just produce more smoke.

The ideal size for good burning firewood is a thickness of about 10-15cm. That will keep the fire ticking over and produce good warmth while keeping the smoke down.

Leave the air vents on your woodburner open overnight. This will give out more heat rather than letting the fire smoulder. It will keep your home warmer and it generates less smoke. 

Advice on choosing good wood and burning better, check out smoke-free fire demos(external link)