Posted by: Matthew | May 15, 2011

Replacing old stinkers with new stinkers is not an answer

Everyone knows that old fires can be incredibly polluting, and shouldn’t be used in any domestic setting unless your house is at least a kilometre from your closest neighbour’s. Even amidst the disinformation of the NZHHA they’ll even publicly admit that too, but their motivation is less than sound. They say you should get rid of that old stinker, and replace it one of their member’s new products. They sold a dud then, and they want to sell you a dud now. Profit, profit, profit, at the expense of air quality, health and neighborhood relations. Even the government in its EECA guise pedals the bullshit that new woodheaters are low-pollution. It simply isn’t true. Read this:

New woodheaters pollute.

“200 g of smoke and creosote particles.  This is the amount of pollution a typical brand-new Australian woodheater will produce every single day and that is right there in your neighbourhood, in your lungs, in your children’s lungs, in newborn babies’ lungs, and in the lungs of the elderly, finishing them off like 1100 New Zealanders every year.

You just can’t get past the design flaw when burning solid fuels. There will be incomplete combustion, and there will be toxic smoke. And remember there will always be idiots using them, far from the idealised surrounds of a testing laboratory. These idiots won’t know how to minimise the smoke, and even when being used at a minimum there will always be unacceptable pollution. The real way to minimise pollution is not using woodheaters at all.

It’s time to forgo yesterday’s technology. Leave it back in the 1800’s where it belongs.

It’s time not to listen to the industry propaganda from the NZHHA and the AHHA. It is time to see them as what they really are, pedallers of death and misery, trying to justify their unforgivable position, promoting their unhealthy products, exactly like tobacco companies.



  1. I was having a drink on Friday night. One of the blokes there told me he was forced by council to replace his wood stove. Know what he got in return? A wood stove identical to the one he removed but with a bolt in the damper so it can’t be closed down. Is this a solution to people who speed in cars, causing serious accidents? Stick a bolt in the accelerator? There is some stupid shit happening.

    • Smokehost, I have found the folks working in councils have absolutely no idea when it comes to anything and especially when it comes to dealing with air pollution.

  2. …also find the scientific study that proves all “old fires” before controlled lab certified wood stoves were available are more polluting. The Tokoroa study did not produce enough data for the variables that can qualify damning enough evidence to change-out enclosed burners before this chosen date. The test requires expert technicians to create the perfect, balanced conditions for a wood stove appliance promoting the best combustion. The ratings from these tests are sold with the appliance. It is known and accepted however, and it has since they began using this test, that these ratings cannot be achieved in the field – not even close in severe winter weather conditions. Some of these newer certified fires burn worse than the old ones and blow smoke inside the living space. Why? Because they were not passed in the conditions wood burners are commonly being used in. The exhaust system is widely ignored and yet it reverses everything that they’ve been trying to fix below it.

    • I completely agree that the lab-testing conditions can’t be replicated by the average-joe and as a result when used in the community the effects of wood smoke are much more devastating than those perfect conditions tests would suggest.

  3. So with the impossibility of the wood heater owner being able to produce these same laboratory conditions would you not agree that this testing process and certification method is an invention in itself and not effective enough to be a standard used in the NES for qualifying wood heater use in real life conditions?

    I’m a supporter of real science – not only government, Meridian or Solid Energy sponsored scientists and researches working for the dividends that feed some fantastical carbon economy. I believe that some of these big smart grid ideas, wind farms, solar are indeed the future but grid failure and events that may compromise manufactured fuel supply to the consumer also needs to be considered. Home heating needs to be as secure as possible – the ability to keep warm and boil water. Heat pumps are not secure and this is recognised from power outages from heavy snow fall, extreme cold and earthquakes. They also promote greater energy use when used as AIR CONDITIONERS in the summer when families before wouldn’t have considered the need. Manufacturing needs to be sustainable too and wood stove appliances are almost entirely recyclable. How do you think compared to materials in heat pumps?

    Since I’ve mentioned Solid Energy – Pellet burners? Wood waste already has a place – in composting, and if you are going to put an electric start on a wood fired appliance what’s the selling point? They’re expensive and just like all other certified appliances low in emissions in the lab but inconsistent in real life. Log burning stoves without emissions are still better and they have developed over time. Just because they don’t come with a remote control and feed themselves doesn’t mean they are technologically antique or retro.

    They needed to stop at the development of the double burner. From that point they needed to figure out how to make that new cylindrical shaped chimney draw – to make the combustion from the stove work. May as well have just bolted the air intake to fully open. All the EPA was wanting was a standard for wood stoves – not chimneys. Yay – New Zealand and Australia get to experience this expensive industry loophole. The Ministry for the Environment, ECANZ, Nelson Council and probably Meridian and Solid Energy have questions to answer. The test was designed for manufacturers so they can simply design their stoves for the test. Middlemen get paid, environmental scientists get jobs and asthmatics e.t.c. think their health issues are being nurtured. No. Your just buying new appliances.

    • Yes the testing is flawed. Though my plan prohibiting their use and sale gets rid of the need for the test completely.
      I too am a supporter of real science and my interpretation of the science is that even one woodburner in use can completely overwhelm its local environment depending on wind and weather conditions on some days of the year and therefore any socially just policy would prohibit their use at all times so they wouldn’t be used on those days. The closest one to my house now must be 100 metres away. It still regularly causes nuisance.

      Wood pellet burners in my opinion should be blanket banned. They make neighbourhoods suffer year round, not just autumn to spring. As a juror I would convict no one for break and entering and taking a sledgehammer to a wood pellet burner or indeed a wood burner so they could get fresh air.

      I have no problem with anyone using their heat pump as an airconditioner if that is what they want to do. It doesn’t harm their neighbours and they can pay their own electricity bill. This is of course how they are used in Australia. In New Zealand it doesn’t get hot enough ever to want to use an air-conditioner so it is a moot point.

      I do not agree with your stopping development of the double burner statement because woodburners should be banned from use and sale immediately. They pollute. There is no getting around the fact that they pollute. I take it you live in Nelson. The environment minister, Nick Smith, comes from Nelson too. Somewhat embarrassingly for Nick Smith Nelson is officially polluted by wood burners and exceeds the (already way too lax) air quality standards. It is amazing that Nelson had 51 exceedences of the maximum allowed over 24 hours in 2005 and 34 in 2009. Nelson is, in other words, chronically polluted by wood smoke. It is more amazing that Nick Smith, National Party loser and environment minister would have weakened scheduled strengthenings (but still piss poor) of the wood burner regulations. That is why I called for him to be sacked. He is clueless (or the other possibility is evil, but I’ll go with clueless).

      Everyone in New Zealand deserves to live in a wood smoke free community.

      Did you know Smokeghost that if NZ was a US state we would be number 1 out of 51 for per capita deaths due to air pollution? We’d even beat California with its deaths due to all those vehicle exhausts. New Zealand is polluted. We need to do something about it.

  4. “As a juror I would convict no one for break and entering and taking a sledgehammer to a wood pellet burner or indeed a wood burner so they could get fresh air.”

    …but you are a supporter of real science, right?

    It’s no surprise you mention a comparison to a US State as all this energy policy, public relations and government regulation has miraculously appeared here, from there. Social policy: lets get them paranoid so they will buy into our energy scheme. PM research and reports produce little physical scientific evidence and a lot of social political spin – that we thank Harvard university for with their Six Cities Study in the 70s. This is an oil shock renaissance – Alaska calls for a ban on wood heaters and their Propane and Natural Gas replacements. Meridian’s influence here and in California calls for a ban on wood heaters and their Heat Pump, Natural Gas or Pellet Burner replacement. In UK its Ground Source Heat Pumps, Natural Gas and Pellet Burners.

    Asthmatics, allergy sufferers, women’s groups, church groups unite! So when shit hits the fan, your power goes out and there’s a high demand in manufactured fuel not only will we already be poor but we’ll be 100% helpless as far as basic needs. People that build for self sufficiency have brains and when we can all help by generating our own electricity back into the grid that will be sweet. Politically and economically we need to focus on transition – the engineers & technicians on the technology we already have and can improve, and the dreamers a future of dynamic equilibrium.

    • I see Smokeghost that you are trying to sell some piece of shit that perpetuates the shit coming out of everyone’s chimneys.

      Woodsmoke is toxic pollution. It does not belong in our air that we have to breathe. All antiquated pieces of shit technology like woodburners or magic chimney cowls or whatever your shit product is should be banned. Wood smoke is toxic. It is poisonous. It is carcinogenic. it is mutagenic. It kills 1100 Kiwis a year. Everything else is bullshit.

  5. No. I’m not trying to sell anything here. Not for profit at least. This is a discussion and evidently we are both passionately polarised within it. Polarisation is a fundamental, natural law that creates magical electricity – sadly however that wonderful, magical spark when in contact with air becomes dirty, fine carbon. Hoh hum. Deal with industry polluters, food, water and warheads first. We need smoke-free wood heaters. We need as much self sufficiency as possible.

    • There is no such thing as a smoke-free wood heater. You are living in a fantasy world.

  6. [Dud video removed]

    A smokeless wood heater. Using productive, real – evidence based science to fix a problem.

    • As far as I can tell all you claims are all anecdotal. Please provide me with more evidence. Is there any independent scientific assessment? And the video starts 15 minutes in. Starting fires are way more polluting than one that is bedded in, and that’s another reason the standards for wood burners are inadequate, because they ignore the start up. Would it past a smell test? ie would living in a neigbourhood with these things actually be something I could do? Currently I cannot live in a New Zealand town or suburb. Would a still night under an inversion layer still be intolerable? Prohibition of all wood burners would work. Would your product? So far I doubt it.

      How does your magic cowl work? If it is not an electrostatic scrubber what the hell is it?

      • After reading more about it – I think your claims are bullshit and your product is a dud.

  7. The unit is designed specifically to deal with pollution from the atmosphere down rather than the instituted, funded and standardised combustion up method. The primary cause is the inversion! Why zoning? Why no burn days? There is very little developed science in this area that backs the invention. Science takes funding and where that funding comes from is of high importance. Vested interests have been known to manipulate results and now that so much is done by way of complex computer models its too easy to manipulate data. Organisations like the EPA haven’t been funding practical areas of development. They spend most of their time collecting and arranging data.

    [Dud video removed]

    The relatively new cowl design has been well observed and trialled in real life conditions and is installed on over 200 wood heaters in New Zealand. The users of which now have happier, healthier neighbours. See the testimonials on the company’s website. The inventor launched it as an H cowl or ADD cowl alternative to solve problems of atmosphere. On average it takes 1.5 minutes to kick in because the lighter, cleaner gases are being cooled by the air in the flue system. When the system is being used day to day that start up pollution time can be reduced to less than a minute due to the air being warmer and lighter. Perhaps a cleaner combustion method built into the appliance could be used to get past that initial start up plume but for your cause, not your opinion necessarily – this is a significant, working improvement that still allows the homeowner safe & secure self sufficiency.

    • Prohibition will work better than your device, even if all your claims were true.

      No one should be subjected to any form of wood smoke ever. Your device does not deliver that.

      There will be no technological magic bullet that doesn’t involve not burning wood. Prohibition will work.

      As for your vested interest follow the money trail – it’s crazy talk. First you claim your device is “scientifically proven”. Then you diss all science. Then you rely on anecdote. My nose is good at smelling bullshit as well as nuisance wood smoke. It is pretty simple really. Pump shit into the atmosphere and there is shit in the atmosphere. Therefore don’t pump shit into the atmosphere.

      I’m bored of this. Please no more flogging of your snake oil here.

  8. […] It hasn’t worked in Christchurch. And it won’t work in Auckland, because replacing old stinkers with new stinkers is not the answer. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: