FOLLOWING the Asthma Foundation’s criticism of the Australian standard for wood-burning heaters, a resident says the heating system can not only be clean, but cost-efficient.
Forest Reefs resident Bill Sovdat moved into his house about four weeks ago and said he loved his new wood heater.
“When we lived in Orange, we had a gas log fire with a side flue and you could smell the fumes worse than the small wood heater we have out here,” he said.
“If you look at the flue, there’s not one puff of smoke 90 per cent of the time.”
Mr Sovdat said he used a device designed to keep the flue clear, but the cost of gas and electricity led to the decision to install wood heating.
“We’ve got solar and everything, and the bill is astronomical. If we had electric heating, it would be double,” he said.
Asthma Foundation NSW chief executive officer Michele Goldman said the Australian standard for wood heater emissions, which was reduced from four grams a kilogram to 2.5 grams earlier this month, was disappointing and lagged a decade behind other countries.
“Although this new standard looks tough, New Zealand moved to 1.5 grams a kilogram in 2004 and the US has just announced it is imposing a 1.2 grams a kilogram standard,” she said.
“In addition, the Australian standards are voluntary. Tthere are no sanctions on manufacturers for non-compliance.”
Ms Goldman said the state’s 360,000 wood heaters would cost taxpayers an extra $8 billion in healthcare bills during the next 20 years.
I’ve Got Wood owner Scott Petersen noted the standard would drop to 1.5 grams a kilogram by August 2019, but said the key was to burn correctly.
“People [need to] burn dry, seasoned hardwoods. It’s the people selling green gum where I think 90 per cent of your battle is,” he said.
“My sales are up this year. A lot of people who had wood heaters five to seven years ago and went to gas are now going back to firewood.”
Orange City Council introduced the Stay Warm, Breathe Easy campaign in May, which offered up to $1000 to replace outdated wood and solid fuel heaters with gas or electric heating.
Corporate and Community Relations manager Nick Redmond said 50 residents had taken home information packs and three had taken up the offer.
He also said environmental health staff had conducted morning patrols to look for badly-smoking chimneys and had spoken to residents on how to manage their fires better.