Tips on efficient lighting and burning of firewood

These tips will help you get a hot fire burning quickly. If you follow them, you can reduce your smoke emissions. It is also important that well-seasoned firewood is used, the wood heater is certified and has been correctly installed, and regular maintenance has been undertaken.

To start the fire:

  • use plenty of paper and small, dry kindling under the wood to get a good fire going quickly
  • place an extra sheet of paper above your unlit fire to create a good updraft
  • don’t block air from getting to the base of the fire with a large log at the front
  • use short logs loaded at right angles to the door. Avoid using long logs parallel to the door
  • leave at least two centimetres between pieces of wood
  • fully open air controls for 20 minutes after lighting.

Once the fire is burning well:

  • reload regularly to ensure new fuel catches quickly, but do not overfill the heater
  • burn on high air flow for 20 minutes after each time you add wood
  • keep the fire burning brightly so it doesn’t smoulder.

Check your chimney (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities)Check your chimney

Go outside occasionally when the fire is established and check your chimney or flue for smoke.

If there is continuous visible smoke after 20 minutes of operation, adjust your fire for better burning, as recommended above.

Remember to keep the flame lively and bright. A fire should never be dull or smoky - a bright fire is a good fire.

If you follow these tips for correct operation and still have excessive smoke emissions, you may need to have your wood heater or flue looked at. If your wood heater is old and won’t stop smoking, you should consider replacing it or switching to another form of heating.

Don't damp down the fire

Never dampen down your fire and let it smoulder overnight. View tips on keeping your house warm overnight

Page last updated on 9 Jul 2012