News Flash

29-Jan-2015, 10:08 am

Ban will burn hole in pocket

Burning need: Ted Bastable relies on his woodburner to heat his home and water.

Story from Eastern Courier, January 28, 2015



Bans on woodburners are set to hit residents like Ted Bastable in the pocket.

Under a proposed bylaw woodburners and open fireplaces would be prohibited by late 2018 to improve air quality.

But Bastable, who started using a woodburner to heat his Howick home five years ago, says his woodburner keeps money in his pocket.

‘‘My power bill has halved since then,’’ the 76-year-old says. ‘‘I use it for heating the entire house, for hot water, we dry clothes in this room, and we’ve cooked on it as well.’’ Auckland Council is encouraging people to seek alternatives such as heat pumps, but Bastable says paying for a heat pump would triple his power costs.

‘‘I’ve got a couple of mates who have heat pumps and they’re spending $300 or $400 a month. My last power bill was $104 for the month.’’ He doesn’t believe his woodburner is a significant pollutant.

‘‘It’s burning wood so it’s going to be a bit smokey, but I’ve had it checked out by the chimney sweep and it ticks all the boxes.

‘‘I don’t get any complaints from neighbours. I gather the wood during the summer months, and I make sure it’s dry before I use it. I think what I’ve got works well.’’ The council says 75 per cent of Auckland’s air pollution over winter is caused by emissions from open fires and older woodburners.

Council bylaws committee chairman Calum Penrose says ‘‘concentrating on indoor fires will not only achieve cleaner air, we will be on our way to meeting national air quality standards’’.

Fireplace inspector Lance Gedge says the bylaw is ‘‘very over the top’’.

‘‘They should’ve talked to people in the industry, it’s very frustrating.

‘‘It’ll bring financial hardship to people on fixed incomes. Heat pumps are great for houses with double glazing, otherwise they are very expensive to run.’’ Gedge says older woodburners can be made to run efficiently.

‘‘It’s actually very easy to burn cleanly using the older woodburners. To minimise smouldering wood, smoke and soot, and burn cleanly you just have to keep a medium to high burning flow, use dry, well seasoned wood, and have regular servicing. I’ve shown customers this so many times and they’re amazed, you’ll see no smoke.’’

* Lance Gedge is an experienced fireplace technician with Andy Anderson's Chimney Sweeps.

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