What our clients ask us
Q How do I successfully light a fire?
A Take a look at this informative video on how to successfully light a fire and other great video tips can be found on the NZHHA website.
.Q How often should I have my wood burner / open fire serviced and swept?
A At least once a year to ensure the safety and efficiency of the appliance/chimney. All manufacturers stipulate an annual service and in many insurance companies require evidence of due care and maintenance in the event of a claim. Property Managers and Landlords are responsible for the maintenance and safety of chimneys and wood burners so an annual inspection is strongly recommended for these properties (The landlord’s insurance policy for the property will often not cover the property if the chimney is not swept at least annually). Informing tenants on proper use and care of the appliance is also strongly recommended. (See Government's Building and Housing guidelines). A build up of creosote is very damaging to your flue and should be avoided.
Q Do bricks and air tubes have to be replaced?
A Fire bricks protect steel from overheating and starting to warp, prolonging the life of the wood burner. Bricks should be replaced when they are crumbling. It is okay to use cracked fire bricks which is a common occurrence. Air tubes control the airflow into the fire box, which is essential for your fire to perform efficiently. If the air tube is missing or broken too much air enters the firebox which over-fires the fire box which means loss of control from the air control knob or slide.
Q What wood burner should I purchase for my home?
A It is best to arrange an on-site visit BEFORE purchasing a wood burner for your home. There are many factors to be taken into consideration in choosing the fire type and site for your new appliance, not just room size and fire heat output.
Q When is the best time of year to get my wood burner / open fire serviced?
A Spring and Summer are the best time of year. There is no wait time, and it often is a time when discounts are offered. Worried about birds nesting? If a bird nests after we have swept we can return and remove the nest and put bird nesting on. Still using the fire? That is ok. It doesn’t matter if you continue to use your fire after it is swept (although it must be cold to be serviced on the day).
Q Why install a woodburner?
A Wood is carbon neutral and is also the cheapest form of heating when burned in a well maintained wood burner. You can reduce your power bills even further by installing a wetback or hot water booster system with your compliant wood burner. We can discuss these options with you. Currently those living on more than two hectares of land can install non-clean air 'rural' woodburners and second hand appliances.
Q How do I pay?
A Cash, cheque, eftpos on the day preferred. On-line banking by arrangement. Credit card accepted (3% fee)
Q Why is the glass on my wood fire a milky colour
A Sometimes chemicals in the wood together with moisture create a milky film on the glass of the wood fire.
Q Why is my flue 'whistling'
A Many new fire models are 'whistling' due to the design of the air flow system. If this is bothering you please let contact us to discuss a possible solution.
Q Who is responsible for chimney sweep and fire maintenance in a rental property?
A Tenancy Services advises the following: Landlords are responsible for maintenance. If you’re a landlord who provides heating and ventilation for your rental property, you’re responsible for maintenance. If there’s a useable fireplace, the chimney needs to be safe and regularly cleaned (check your insurance policy). It’s best to permanently block off unusable fireplaces to prevent tenants using it and to reduce draught.
Q What wood should I use?
A Most manufacturers recommend that soft wood (pine and mac) be burned to comply with NZ standards and to make lighting the fire easier (hard woods are not good for lighting fires). Most importantly the wood needs to be dry and seasoned (kept under cover for a year to dry out). DO NOT BURN rubbish, plastic or driftwood in your fire. Burning wet wood reduces the efficiency of the fire causes creosote tar to build up which is a fire risk (this can smell acidic or like burning plastic). Burning wet wood dramatically increases air pollution, dry seasoned wood gives good wood and is carbon neutral. Less than 20% moisture is best. Storing wood: stack logs so they are well ventilated and covered. It is a good idea to keep air below them so stacking on old pallets is ideal.
Q What is a baffle and does it need to be replaced?
A Baffles create a barrier between the fire and the top of the wood stove, as well as a path for the smoke and gases to follow toward the stove pipe. They also reflect the heat back toward the fire, causing a secondary combustion during which most of the gases are burned off, resulting in an efficient burn, and they prevent smoke from blowing back out of the stove when the door is opened. Baffles are made of steel, cast iron, firebrick, ceramic fiber board, or a combination of these. Because they're exposed to such intense heat, they must eventually be replaced. Using a fire long term without a baffle is not recommended as the bottom of the flue will start to burn out and in a new fire this will likely void the warranty.
Q Do you offer a discount for Grey Power and Gold Card holders?
A Yes we offer a discount for our inspection and sweep service.
Q What happens during an inspection and sweep?
A Servicing your fire one person will take up to ¾ of an hour, longer for ranges and some fires with complicated baffle systems or if we are working from the roof. The firebox is checked and the chimney swept. Normally this will be done from inside, however, some wood burners must be swept from the roof for example Large Jotul, Pyroclassic, Jayline Classic with a welded baffle, early model Woodsman Novo. Other work from the roof that needs to be done as required are cowl replacements, flashing checks and repairs (eg leaks). You will be left with a certificate outlining the current state of the fire and any repair work required (if parts are required that we do not have on the day).
Q Do I have to do anything before the Inspection and Sweep?
A It is helpful if you have cleared any rubbish out of the fire and reduced the ash to a bed of 2 inches. A bed of ash insulates the base of the fire and acts as a moisture absorber, especially over the summer when the fire is not being used.
Q Why is my chimney smoking? Why can I smell smoke in the house?
A It may need sweeping or parts replacing. Lighting the fire correctly is essential to make sure it is hot enough to move smoke up the chimney. Only burn dry wood and kindling and use lots of newspaper to get the fire going. Do not burn coal unless the fire is designed for this. Some types of wood can create fine soot and block the chimney quickly as can burning the fire on low regularly. Burning rubbish and drift wood can also cause creosote build up. Some wind conditions can cause blow back. We suggest lighting the fire with just newspaper on different days. Burn it very hot. If smoke still comes out in different weather conditions then it needs to be checked/swept. If you live in a new house that is airtight it is a lot harder to get a good draw on the fire. You may need to open a window in the room whilst you are getting the fire going. If you are worried call us to come and inspect. Check out these informative videos on the NZHHA site.
Q I already have a wood burner but I want to replace it. Do I need a Council Permit?
Q What is a cowling and do I need one?
A A cowl is a usually hood-shaped covering used to increase the draft of a chimney and prevent backflow. The cowl, usually made of galvanized iron or stainless steel and is fitted to the chimney pot to prevent wind blowing the smoke back down into the room below. They often also act as a rain guard to keep rain from going down the chimney. There are different types of cowlings to suit different settings and solve blowback issues. We can advise which is the best one for your fire.