Posted by: Matthew | November 5, 2009

Buy a woodburner – lose your money!!!

This post gets more traffic from search engines than any other here, and guessing from the search terms they use, from people thinking of purchasing and installing a wood burner. Please never do that. Take the time to read a few other entries on this blog and get a feel for what other people think of your decision if you were to do so. It’s pretty simple; you use a woodburner and you annoy a lot of people, usually your neighbours.

Or if you want a catchy slogan – Think before you Stink

The original post follows:

We were pretty disgusted to read in this weeks Kapiti News an advertisement for the Heating Centre Ltd of Paraparaumu saying this:

“PIZZERIA 900 For the Pizza Lover!
When you’re finished cooking your pizza or roasting your leg of lanb, open up the heavy duty twin doors and pull out a pew to turn your Pizzeria 900 into an outdoor fire… PURE FLAME PURE PERFECTION”

You might even get to say g’day to your neighbours to as they madly rush to take in their washing to save it from getting stunk out, before they have to take their kids to the doctor because of their asthma in the morning.


So this blog says “If you buy an outdoor pizza oven or a woodburner now it’s at your risk. There will be no compensation when it becomes an offence to use it.”  It is the stated aim of this blog to make the use of solid fuel burners an offence. If you can’t see that using one of these in your yard or in your house is a very unneighbourly thing to do, are you willing to take the gamble with your cash?



  1. In response to your stated aim of making the use of solid fuel burners an offence.
    1. Who has their washing hanging up over night when the pizza oven or outdoor fire is on??
    2. What about the asthma giving kids grief created from cold damp mouldy homes being heated with unflued LPG gas cabinet heaters?? That’s the unhealthy environment I grew up in. And attribute my asthma to.
    3. Sensible homeowners with wood burners are responsible parents!!! Their kids are tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour, not frollicking about outside on top of the chimney flue!!
    4. I have one woodburner heating my whole house. I don’t need 3 or 4 heatpumps. And what happens when a drunk driver knocks out the power to my house by ramming into a power pole?
    5. I don’t have smoke coming out of my chimney, I use dry firewood. My neighbours even comment how they “love the smell of a good old wood fire”. I’m confused by your mission statement. I can’t afford a big power bill in the winter to run electricity or gas heating.

    • In response to your questions:
      1. Of course people should be able to have their washing out over night without fear of it being stunk out. And in the evenings people like to ride their bikes, go for walks, sit outside or go for a jog. These are all legitimate things to do even in the coldest part of winter. It’s only smoke, not cold that stops me riding my bike at night.
      2. Cold and damp, mouldy homes shouldn’t be the norm for anyone, but to remedy that you should think about only warming your house in a manner that doesn’t cause nuisance pollution, and doesn’t cause asthma and other respiratory diseases. Your asthma probably has multiple causes and don’t overlook smoke as a cause. If the air was smoke free then you’ll probably benefit from it.
      3. Yes, but reasonable adults (and kids at rugby practice or netball practice) are outside just downwind from your chimney flu. So why should you force everyone inside when you decide it is time for inside, when there are still lots of people who’d rather be outside?
      4. I have one heat pump. I don’t use it very often. I don’t have a cold house. It is rarely cold in Kapiti. A heat pump heats pretty evenly and is very efficient since it doesn’t make the heat, but moves heat already in the outside air to inside the house. They are cheaper to run than a woodburner if you don’t grow the fuel yourself.
      5. Yes you do have smoke coming out of your chimney, even if you pretend that you don’t. Dry and clean firewood will still produce a significant amount of smoke especially when first lit. A woodburner in a night spews out as much smoke as a well maintained car engine does in a year. Ask some more of your neighbours (like for real instead of pretend) and you might find what you think is universal acceptance is actually near universal annoyance. And if your argument for polluting the neighbourhood is poverty, then we are all made to be poorer by your decision to export the costs onto the community. Have you been to Raumati on a still winter night, like where Poplar Avenue and Rosetta Road meet? There under the inversion layers it’s deadly. If you are asthmatic I don’t recommend it. It is a problem, even if some people don’t understand that it is a problem.

      I understand that maybe you don’t understand where I am coming from, but I hope you will someday understand that your behaviour is not as benign as you currently think and some real costs are being foisted onto people who never agreed to pay them. That is completely unfair.

      If 99 out of 100 homeowners think it is OK to pollute the neighbourhood with wood smoke, and 1 doesn’t, then really that 1 homeowner has the moral right to ask for it to stop. The 99 would be condemning that 1 to misery. And the figures aren’t anything like that 1 in 99.

      If wood smoke is universal (and chronic) then where does someone who can’t live with it, actually live? It is a fair question. If there was a ban on woodsmoke I could live just about anywhere, and not where I do now. in relative isolation. I would certainly choose to live in a different place and I’d be within bicycle commuting distance of my work, and not so far out that I would drive like I currently am forced to do. So remember that when you warm your house with wood that you are actually excluding people from living near you. Is that fair?

      Peter, thanks for your input. But dig a bit deeper, and learn a bit more about it, and since you sound like a reasonable person, I reckon you’ll come over to my point of view.

      Another way to think of it is by analogy. Say you’re sitting down to a nice meal at a fancy restaurant and at the next table someone lights a cigar. It would ruin your meal. Your wood burner is just like a cigar and we have laws against behaviour like that.

  2. the fire is the heart of the home, and i don’t mean a gas burner. a well burnt wood fire emits natural pollutants which are adbsorbed into the environment in a natural way continuing the energy cycle of life. Some grumpy bugger who hangs his washing out at night is a bit of a plonker. My sons breathing has got noticably worse since we have moved into an electrically heated appartment whilst building our eco friendly wood house which will be heated by burning wood. I am hoping he will return to good health when we move to a more natural environment, with t(he smoke. Plus maintained forests add to the green footprint of the planet, which is needed alot more than people like you.

    • David, you are both ignorant and selfish.

      “a well burnt wood fire emits natural pollutants which are adbsorbed into the environment”

      and your lung tissue.

      NIcked from Art aka Arbuthnott
      “Wood-burning stoves are an environmental nightmare. Combustion is incomplete, and the wood is full of all manner of unpleasant volatiles in any case, a significant proportion of which make it up the chimney without being burned. The result is soot-laden exhaust gasses, loaded with creosoles & other unpleasant & carcinogenic aromatics. Just look inside your chimney and think about how often it needs to be cleaned! The presence of even tiny amounts of halogens result in some even nastier combinations, with traces of chlorine ending up in dioxins – dangerous to human health at levels of only femtogrammes (that is a decimal point with 14 zeros before the number. Cleaning products, used to reduce the frequency of chimney cleaning, contain all manner of noxious chemicals.”

      Art is right, and Dave you know nothing. I’d hate to live next to you.

      Dave when you say “a well burnt wood fire emits natural pollutants which are adbsorbed into the environment in a natural way continuing the energy cycle of life” and you try to justify your polluting lifestyle with hippy eco-twaddle does that make you at all familiar with the term “greenwash”.

      Energy cycle of life? C’mon buddy just cut the toxic pollution, and then put up your Tibetan prayer flags, and drop acid or whatever other hippy things you do, but don’t go burning any incense, ya hear me?

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