Burn ‘warmer, cheaper’ this winter to help improve our air quality 

As the infamous Canterbury frosts start to bite, people across the region are firing up their wood burners to stay warm.

We all want to improve our air quality so we can have cleaner, healthier air to breathe. Our Warmer Cheaper campaign is all about using your wood burner efficiently so your household can:

  • stay cosy all winter,
  • spend less money on wood, and
  • produce less smoke from home heating.

Ingredients for smoke-free burning 

There are three main ingredients to a smoke-free fire: good dry wood, better burning techniques, and a well-maintained wood burner.

Good, dry wood

To find good wood near you, check out the list of Trusted Good Wood merchants on the Warmer Cheaper website. We audit these businesses regularly to ensure they have a stock of good, dry wood available.

The Warmer Cheaper website also includes information about the pros and cons of different types of firewood. Drying time varies significantly between woods, so while plantation pine and Douglas fir will be dry and ready to burn after 1-2 years, macrocarpa needs 3-5 years of drying time before it will burn cleanly, and blue gum needs 5-6 years.

Avoiding wet wood

Sometimes what seems like a good deal on firewood from a roadside wood seller can turn out to be a bad investment, as the wood may not have been 'seasoned' (dried out) for long enough to burn efficiently.

You can test your firewood’s moisture content yourself using a moisture meter available from home improvement shops.

If you want help testing the moisture content of your wood, give us a call on 0800 324 636.

Better burning techniques

Most of us have been taught the 'pyramid' method of lighting fires, with the smallest kindling on the bottom and the big logs on top. A more efficient alternative is the upside-down fire-building method, which burns for longer without needing to be topped up. Videos and a step-by-step guide to the upside-down fire technique are available on the Warmer Cheaper website.

A modern, well-maintained wood burner and clean chimney

It’s important to keep your burner in good condition so it can burn as efficiently as possible. If smoke is coming into the room or you notice your wood burner isn’t burning as hot as usual, it’s time to check your burner and/or get your chimney swept. A build-up of soot in the flue can lead to dangerous chimney fires. Our handy burner maintenance checklist will help you through the process.

Financial help is available

Grants and subsidies

Check your eligibility for EECA’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme, a government initiative that offers low-income homeowners grants for up to 80 per cent of the cost of insulation and new heating appliances.

If you live in a Clean Air Zone and have a Community Services Card, you could be eligible for additional help through our home heating subsidy.

Brightr provides our home heating subsidies in Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Christchurch, and Ashburton. Give Brightr a call on 0800 888 766 for more information.

In Timaru, Waimate and Geraldine, EnergySmart provides our home heating subsidies. Give EnergySmart a call on 0800 777 111 for more information.

Loans and deferred payment options

You may be able to get a low-interest loan through your bank to cover the cost of a new heating appliance and/or insulation. Some home heating retailers also offer payment terms so you can pay off your new heat pump or ultra-low emission wood burner over time.