Winter home heating preparations

We want everyone in Canterbury to be warm and cosy in their homes, so getting yourself prepared now is key and will save you time and money in the long run.

Now’s good for wood

Ensuring your wood is dry and well-seasoned is key to burning a hotter, more efficient fire with less smoke.

Three reasons why you should stock up on wood now.

1. Time to dry

Buying wood in the warmer months allows time for your wood to dry before you need to use it. Generally, it takes 1-3 years for wood to dry properly, so if you’re buying wood to use next winter it needs to be pre-dried or seasoned.

Burning wet wood does not allow your fire to get hot enough to produce efficient warmth in your home, and can lead to smoky chimneys and air pollution.

If you are concerned that your wood may not be dry enough to burn efficiently, we recommend buying a moisture meter. These are an affordable, at-home solution for testing your wood’s moisture content. Alternatively, call us on 0800 329 278 and we can arrange to test the wood’s moisture content at no cost. 

If you are using a moisture meter to test your wood, make sure the moisture content is less than 25 per cent. Optimum burning is between 12 and 18 per cent. Over 25 per cent is too wet and illegal to burn. 

Not all dry woods burn the same, so it’s important to check that you’re buying the right wood to burn. Some woods burn hotter and produce less smoke than others. We recommend plantation pine, Douglas fir and blue gum. Old man pine can be smoky, which we don’t recommend. 

Remember to store your wood under cover and allow air flow in places like a small woodshed, under some eaves or along a fence line.

2. Likely to be cheaper

Stocking up on wood for next winter when the weather’s still warm typically means the wood will be priced more competitively.

We recommend using a Trusted Good Wood Merchant to source wood. These firewood suppliers have been reviewed and accredited by us for providing dry, seasoned wood, giving customers the confidence that they are purchasing good quality fuel and receiving efficient customer support. 

3. Avoid missing out

We’ve had winters where the cold weather has hit fast and hard, and wood stocks have not been able to keep up with demand. Buying now will help ease stress on the supply chain and help to keep you warm and dry next winter.

If you are burning wood and live in a Clean Air Zone (where air quality needs improvement), make sure you check your zone’s rules before burning. Stricter rules apply for these areas, including the type of log burner than can be used. A modern, efficient burner such as an ultra-low emission burner (ULEB) is required in these Zones, otherwise cleaner types of home heating, such as a heat pump, should be used.

Checking your wood burner

A modern, well-maintained wood burner with a clean flue will achieve the best results for you in winter.

The Canterbury Air Regional Plan requires wood burners of a certain age to be replaced with either low or ultralow emitting burners. The lifetime of every wood burner is different and varies on the size and location of your property.

If you use a wood burner, visit the Solid Wood Fuel Burner Database to check if it’s due to expire. You can also check the age of a burner at a property you are thinking of buying.

If your burner is due to expire, start enquiring with local suppliers and fitters about how to upgrade or replace it. 

Now is also a great time to get your chimney/flue cleaned to beat the Autumn 2022 rush.

Visit Warmer Cheaper to check your wood burner maintenance needs.

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