Selection, purchase, installation and maintenance of your wood heater

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Taking care when choosing, installing and maintaining your heating system is important for the health and safety of you and your family. It may also be an important issue for your neighbours.

When selecting home heating options, consider alternatives that can meet your needs.

The Victorian Government’s Energy Saver Incentive offers discounts and special deals on selected energy-saving products and appliances. You may be eligible for an Energy Saver Incentive when you purchase a new energy-efficient heater for your home.

If you are thinking about a wood heater or fireplace, consider where you live. Are you in built-up metropolitan area? How close are your neighbors’ homes? If you have access to reticulated gas, a gas heater may be a cost-effective alternative.

If you have decided on a wood heater, here is some important information to consider.

Before you buy a wood heater

  • If possible, save money and insulate your home first. Uninsulated ceilings, walls and floors can account for 70 per cent of all heat loss from a home.
  • Think about the size of area you want to heat, how long you want to heat it, where you will source the wood and how much it will cost.
  • Open fireplaces are very inefficient and require more wood to operate.
  • Check that the wood heater you’re buying has a compliance plate to confirm it complies with Australian Standards AS/NZS 4013:2014 and AS/NZS 4012:2014.
  • Obtain good advice before you decide to buy.

Install your heater correctly

  • Employ a licensed person to install your wood heater. They will give you a certificate of compliance for the installation.
  • A wood heater must be installed in accordance with part 12A of the Building Act 1993.

Maintenance of your heater

To keep a wood heater burning efficiently it needs to be maintained and serviced.

  • Check your heater and flue before every heating season. Look for cracks or changes to the surface. If you notice problems have it checked by a qualified service person.
  • Have your flue or chimney professionally cleaned at least once a year.
  • Leave the wood heater on a high burn rate for 20 minutes after lighting or adding fuel. Not only will this reduce smoke, it will also reduce the buildup of creosote residue in the flue.

Further information on home heating appliances

EPA administers the Waste Management Policy (Solid Fuel Heating). The policy requires that only wood heaters certified to Australian Standard AS/NZS 4013:2014 are available for sale in Victoria.

The waste management policy provides a legal framework for managing the manufacture and supply of wood heaters in Victoria. It also encourages correct operation of solid-fuel heaters in homes. This includes community information and education campaigns to reduce smoke from wood heating.

When correctly installed and operated, wood heaters compliant with the Australian Standard produce significantly lower emissions of particles than non-compliant wood heaters.

Sustainability Victoria’s website also has information on alternative forms of heating and energy use.

Page last updated on 11 Oct 2016