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New Wood Heater and Firewood Regulations

The Environmental Protection (Solid Fuel Heater and Firewood) Regulations 2018 (Regulations) were gazetted on 31 August 2018. The Regulations establish mandatory efficiency and emission standards for wood heaters sold in Western Australia and mandatory quality standards for firewood offered for sale to ensure that air emissions from heaters and firewood are minimised.

The Regulations are administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and can be viewed here.

 Wood heater Standards

The Regulations implement the updated Australian and New Zealand Standards for wood heaters in Western Australia, including AS/NZS 4012: 2014 Domestic solid fuel burning appliances — Method for determination of power output and efficiency; and AS/NZS 4013: 2014 Domestic solid fuel burning appliances — Method for determination of flue gas emission.

These Australian Standards introduce stricter emission limits and new efficiency limits for wood heaters:

  • From 31 August 2018 all wood heaters sold in WA must have an efficiency of at least 55 per cent and particle emissions not greater than 2.5 grams per kilogram of fuel burnt (g/kg).
  • From 8 August 2019 all wood heaters sold in WA must have an efficiency of at least 60 per cent and particle emissions not greater than 1.5 g/kg.

Wood heaters sold in Western Australia should have a compliance plate stating it conforms to the Australian Standard for emissions (AS/NZS 4013:2014) and efficiency (AS/NZS 4012:2014). Further information on wood heaters is available here.

Australian Standard AS/NZS 4012: 2014 and AS/NZS 4013:2014 can be viewed at no cost by contacting us.

Green firewood

Firewood with an internal moisture content of more than 20 per cent, also known as “green firewood”, will burn inefficiently in a wood heater and generates excessive smoke emissions which can be harmful to human health.

The Regulations prevent the sale of domestic firewood with an internal moisture content of more than 20 per cent in the Perth area (unless a permit has been granted).

The Regulations also specify an approved method for measuring the internal moisture content of wood, which will be applied by DWER for enforcement purposes. The Instructions for measuring the internal moisture content of wood are available here.

Painted or treated firewood

The Regulations prohibit the sale of domestic firewood that has been painted, coated with plastic or has been treated with any chemical in Western Australia.

Painted wood may contain substances that should not be burnt as they can release harmful emissions (e.g. older painted wood containing lead).

Chemical treatments are used to preserve timber. Copper-chrome-arsenate (CCA) treated timber is used in building and construction, in landscaping and was commonly used for park and playground equipment. In addition, railway sleepers and the bases of old timber power poles have historically been treated with pesticides such as creosote.

The burning of chemically treated wood (including CCA and creosote treated wood) releases emissions when can be a risk to the environment and human health, and it should not be burnt.

Further information is available here.