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Wood burning and gas appliances

Wood burning heaters

If your business uses wood burning heaters or fireplaces for heat or to create a cosy atmosphere, take steps to ensure that you're not creating a health hazard for your staff, patrons and neighbours.

According to the Australian Lung Foundation, wood smoke contains fine particles which are breathed into the lungs and can irritate bronchial tubes and affect those with pre-existing lung disease.  The harmful effects of wood smoke appear similar to those of environmental tobacco smoke.

If you burn wood for heat, ensure you minimise the particulates released into the air by:

  • burning at the right temperature
  • ensuring wood is dry and untreated
  • allowing enough oxygen to allow complete burning
  • keeping flues and chimneys clean

Remember, where there is smoke, there is pollution. You should expect light smoke when you start your fire and refuel it, but this should last no longer than 20 minutes. The less smoke you see, the hotter and cleaner your fire is burning.

For more information, visit the Wood smoke information pages of the SA Environment Protection Authority web site.

Combustion heaters and gas appliances

Unflued appliances

Gas cookers and unflued (no fixed piping or duct to the outside) gas heaters use air during combustion and release water vapour and gases such as carbon and nitrogen oxides. 

Inadequate ventilation of gas appliances can create a serious health hazard. Gas appliances designed for outdoor use should never be used inside.

Gas instantaneous water heaters must not be installed in bathrooms or rooms with limited ventilation unless they are of a room sealed type.

Improper gas burning

If gas doesn't burn properly, carbon monoxide is produced. This odourless, tasteless, colourless gas is very poisonous. Signs of incomplete combustion include:

  • an acrid smell and irritation to the eyes
  • yellow or orange flames rather than blue flames (except for decorative fires that display this colour flame)
  • soot or yellow/brown staining around or on the appliance
  • pilot lights that frequently blow out
  • increased condensation inside windows

Avoid problems by ensuring:

  • appliances installed and tested by a licensed gas fitter
  • appliances are meant to be used indoors
  • adequate ventilation exists
  • appliances are regularly maintained

For more information on the safe use of gas appliances, visit the sa.gov.au web site pages on Gas Safety.