Fuelling your fire

Keep your fire burning efficiently and cost effective

Tips on choosing firewood

With new Australian standards introduced recently slow combustion fires burn more efficiently than ever before. This makes the quality of firewood more important.

How long a tree has been felled or dead for does not indicate how dry the wood is.

The best way to dry wood is to split it and expose the inner core allowing the sun to dry the wood naturally.

Good wood merchants will split the wood for you, but may not season it for you.

The amount of you pay for your wood does not justify how dry the wood is. The only way to know how dry your wood is, is to use a moisture meter measuring from the inner core of the wood.

Only burn wood under 20% moisture. Anything over 20% and your wood heater will not work efficiently. The energy from the fire will be used to reduce moisture in your wood and not produce heat for your house.

Store your wood for at least 12 months after your have purchased it. Your wood should be at a perfect moisture level, of around 15 to 20%.

Never burn treated wood or painted wood.

How many logs of wood does my fire need?

Most heaters burn better with 3 or 4 logs rather than 1 or 2. Logs should not be too big – 2 to 4kg for 40 cm logs is typical.

Does my wood fire heater need a layer of ash?

Heaters without grates will perform better with a layer of ash on the base of the firebox, and should only need cleaning periodically. When cleaning out the ash always leave 10mm or so behind.

How do I keep my wood fire heater burning?

Every time you add fuel to your fire, leave air controls open for 15-20 minutes to start wood burning properly, then keep your fire burning at a steady rate.

How can I achieve complete burning?

To obtain complete burning, you need a high temperature and enough air flow so coals and flames glow brightly.

Dark, smouldering wood and a lot of smoke are of signs of poor and incomplete burning as a result of insufficient air intake.

Overnight Burning

When should I refuel/load start the wood fire heater for overnight burning?

For overnight burning, load the heater at least half an hour before going to bed. Only turn the air supply down to minimum once all the wood is charred (about 15-20 minutes) to avoid creosote problems.

How long can the wood fire heater burn overnight?

Most heaters should still burn for eight hours without difficulty and you will have far less creosote problems than if you fill the heater and turn it to slow-burn straight away. However, long periods of slow burning will always produce more creosote than burning on medium or high.

Will I always need to burn overnight?

It will probably take you some time to get the “feel” of operating your heater for long periods. You might even find that once you have a good lighting method worked out and your house is well insulated, you don’t need to burn overnight except on particularly cold nights.

Buying and Storing Fuel

How do I know what fuel to use?

For the best results, always use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer. If your heater meets the national emission standard, it will have a compliance plate which specifies the correct fuel to use.

Who should I purchase fuel from?

Place your orders early with a reputable fuel merchant who is preferably a member of The Australian Home Heating Association and be sure of what you are buying or collecting in firewood.

What moisture content should my wood be?

Moisture content should be in the range of 12-20%. Hence the need to buy in summer months and stack in an air-dry mode, e.g. Roof cover, open sides

How is fuel sold?

In defined areas, firewood must be sold by weight, so don’t pay for excess weight in water. Elsewhere, firewood is often sold in volume e.g. A cubic meter or in some cases a cubic yard, i.e. cage, bin or loader bucket, etc.

When should I purchased fuel for winter?

Order your winter wood early. Buy your wood in spring or summer. Wood heaters operate best when wood is completely dry and well-seasoned.

How should I store my fuel?

Store your firewood in a covered stack with plenty of air access.

Wood stored on pallets or in a crisscrossed fashion allows air to circulate freely.

Money saving tips

Who can give me the best buying advice?

Obtain expert advice on solid fuel appliances. Retailers who are members of The Australian Home Heating Association can provide helpful advice.

Is there a way to make wood heating even more efficient?

Make your home more energy efficient by insulation the ceilings and walls.

Prevent heat leaks through cracks in doors and windows.

Reduce heat loss through windows by drawing heavy curtains at night.

What happens if I leave the firebox door open?

Leaving the firebox door open will reduce the efficiency and heat output of your heater.

Reducing smoke emissions

How much air should I give after refuelling?

Allow full air for 15-20 minutes after each refuelling.

Is there a way to make wood heating even more efficient?

If your fire is smoky and there are no flames then it is not burning efficiently. Open the air control so that the fire can burn hot, eliminating smoke and reducing emissions.