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(Incorporating Amendment Nos. 1 and 2)

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HB 170:2002

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(Incorporating Amendment Nos. 1 and 2)

Handbook
Wood Heating Resource Handbook
Guide to the Selection, Installation and
Operation of Wood Heaters

First published as HB 170:2002.


Reissued incorporating Amendment No.1 (December 2004).
Reissued incorporating Amendment No. 2 (June 2005).

COPYRIGHT
Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand
All rights are reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or copied in any form or by
any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without the written
permission of the publisher.
Jointly published by Standards Australia, GPO Box 5420, Sydney, NSW 2001 and
Standards New Zealand, Private Bag 2439, Wellington 6020
ISBN 0 7337 4272 6

HB 170:2002

PREFACE
This Handbook was developed to assist prospective purchasers, owners (users),
local government agencies, councils, builders, retailers and installers with guidance
for the selection, installation, operation and maintenance of solid fuel (wood)
heaters, together with information and guidance on issues that may arise from the
operation of these home heaters.
This Handbook incorporates Amendment No. 1 (December 2004) and Amendment No. 2
(June 2005). The changes required by the Amendment are indicated in the text by a marginal
bar and amendment number against the clause, note, table, figure or part thereof affected.

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A1

This Handbook is not applicable to:


(i)

Warm air distribution duction systems beyond the primary wall, floor or
ceiling penetration.

(ii)

2
Appliances with flue outlets greater than 100 000 mm .

(iii) The long term durability of materials.


There are environmental benefits in using a renewable fuel, such as
However, concerns have been raised over the environmental impacts and
issues related to wood heaters. If wood heaters are not installed and used
correct manner they can be a significant source of localized smoke and
problems, and particle pollution or haze during winter months.

wood.
health
in the
odour

Most air pollution problems associated with wood combustion can be prevented or
minimized by using correct fuel, correct burning practices, and in the case of
installing a new wood heater, selecting a certified, emission-tested wood heater
sized appropriately for the situation. However, there are some locations where
there will be limitations on the suitability of wood burning for home heating
because of the topography or potential of air inversions.
The home heating industry is continuing to address concerns about emissions from
wood heaters in a number of ways. These include:
(a)

Insisting on the implementation of relevant Standards regarding particle


emission levels and installation safety.

(b)

Training programs for installers and inspectors to provide consumers with


dependable service.

(c)

Increasing the use of community education programs outlining steps to


reduce emissions.

(d)

Preparing this Handbook, which primarily targets the retailer and installer,
also offers guidance to government, councils and others interested in wood
heating.

Modern homes have become more energy efficient, with better levels of insulation,
more effective air barriers, and seals on windows and doors. These changes have
made our homes easier to heat, but have also meant that wood heaters must be
more carefully designed so that they will function correctly in the tightly sealed
home environment.
The keys to safe, successful and efficient wood burning are good planning, correct
installation and proper operation. This document is intended to assist in planning
an appropriate installation and operating the heater in the safest and most efficient
manner.

HB 170:2002

Relevant sections of the text of AS/NZS 2918:2001, Domestic solid fuel burning
appliancesInstallation are included in boxes to assist the reader. This Handbook is
not intended to add to or diminish the requirements of AS/NZS 2918:2001, and
does not contain mandatory requirements.
Acknowledgement
This Handbook is a joint project between the Australian and New Zealand Home
Heating Associations, Environment Australia, The Ministry for the Environment
New Zealand and Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committee CS-062,
Solid Fuel Burning Appliances. Financial support has been gratefully received from
the Minister for the Environments Sustainable Management Fund, which is
administered by the Ministry for the Environment New Zealand.
The contribution of all organizations involved is gratefully acknowledged.
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References
The following documents are referred to in this Handbook:
AS/NZS 2918, Domestic solid fuel burning appliancesInstallation
AS/NZS 4012, Domestic solid fuel burning applianceMethod for determination of
power output and efficiency
AS/NZS 4013, Domestic solid fuel burning appliancesMethod for determination
of flue gas emission
Building Code of Australia
New Zealand Building Code, Clause C1Outbreak of Fire

HB 170:2002

CONTENTS

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SECTION 1 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF WOOD BURNING FOR HOME


HEATING
Particle pollution ................................................................................................................ 5
Toxic air pollutants............................................................................................................. 6
Low-emission wood burning technology ........................................................................ 6
Greenhouse gases ............................................................................................................... 6
Indoor air pollution ............................................................................................................ 6
Neighbours.......................................................................................................................... 6
Understanding how a wood heater is intended to operate............................................ 7
Key environmental considerations ................................................................................... 8
SECTION 2 SELECTING THE WOOD HEATER
Wood heaters location........................................................................................................ 9
Freestanding wood heaters.............................................................................................. 11
Fireplace inserts ................................................................................................................ 13
Heat circulating fireplaces ............................................................................................... 14
Built-in applicances .......................................................................................................... 14
Positioning of the heater .................................................................................................. 14
Size selection ..................................................................................................................... 16
Practical considerations ................................................................................................... 17
Air transfer systems.......................................................................................................... 19
Home insulation ............................................................................................................... 20
SECTION 3 INSTALLATION
Liability.............................................................................................................................. 21
Basic requirements............................................................................................................ 21
Freestanding heaters ........................................................................................................ 22
Floor protection................................................................................................................. 33
Flue systems ...................................................................................................................... 33
Particular requirements for individual heaters ............................................................. 40
Installing second hand heaters........................................................................................ 53
Loose fill insulation .......................................................................................................... 54
Wall penetration ............................................................................................................... 54
Replacing older wood heaters ......................................................................................... 55
Interaction between house and flue system................................................................... 55
SECTION 4 OPERATION OF WOOD HEATERS
General............................................................................................................................... 57
Starting a new fire............................................................................................................. 57
Rekindling a fire from charcoal or embers..................................................................... 58
Useful tips.......................................................................................................................... 59
Purchasing firewood ........................................................................................................ 62
Protection of the environment......................................................................................... 63
SECTION 5 WOOD HEATER MAINTENANCE
Preventing creosote build-up .......................................................................................... 64
Heater care ........................................................................................................................ 64
Flue cleaning and maintenance....................................................................................... 65
Safety tips .......................................................................................................................... 66
Home safety....................................................................................................................... 68

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HB 170:2002, Wood Heating Resource Handbook


Guide to the Selection, Installation and Operation
of Wood Heaters

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