Which standard governs the Australian heating industry?
All wood heaters manufactured must adhere to the Australian Standard for wood heater emissions (AS/NZS 4012 & 4013) ensuring they are clean burning and environmentally responsible. Wood heaters tested after 8th August 2014 will comply with the lower emission levels of 2.5 grams of particulate emissions per kilo of wood burnt and have an efficiency requirement of 55%.
Starting 8th August 2019 all new solid fuel home heaters without catalytic combustors sold in NSW (locally and imported) must have at least 60 % efficiency and 1.5 g/kg.
All products sold on My Fireplace Australia currently comply with the standards in place and they will all be certified before the end of 2018 for the arrival of the new standard in 2019.
For more information, visit http://www.homeheat.com.au/.
Does MFA have a showroom?
MFA does have a showroom where you can see the products. By the same occasion, you will meet with General Manager, Mr. Rod Crick, who has over 30 years of experience in the wood-heating industry.
The showroom is located at our head office:
Factory 2 5-7 Hogan Court
Pakenham, Victoria 3810
How do I determine the size of heater I need?
Determining factor in the selection of a wood heater:
- Why do you want a wood heater?
- It can be to heat the house, to use it as an additional source of heating
- Ambiance and style
- What are the dimensions (W x D x H) of the house?
- How many floors does your house have?
- Where do you want to install your heater?
- How does the air circulate in the house?
- What is the insulation level of your house?
- Can be related to the age of the house.
- Is the house exposed to wind?
- How many windows does your house have?
Note that a wood heater is for “zone” heating purposes and it should not be used as a central heating system.
Can I get my heater shipped to my house?
Yes, you can have the heater shipped to the home. However, this option is more expensive for you. Because MFA tries try to make each sale as economical as we can for the homeowner, we offer a $200 discount per heater for picking up at a freight depot.
If decide to have the order delivered at home, make sure to be home on the day you nominate. Otherwise, there will be a surcharge to redeliver the unit on another day.
Can I cook on the top of my wood heater?
It is definitely possible to cook on the top of your heater. This can be very useful in case of power failure. A stove fully loaded with wood will easily reach 500 to 700 °F on top. This is sufficient to cook. It is recommended not to put food directly on the heater. An option is to use a cast iron cooking grid or simply lay a piece of stainless steel on top of the stove. Note that the use of a pan or other cookware may scratch the paint.
Do I need a chimney thermometer?
A chimney thermometer is highly recommended. It can prevent problems by providing you with an instant indication whether you are over-firing or under-firing your heater. Heating within the recommended temperature zone on the thermometer will favor a good draft and will help reduce potential creosote build-up in the exhaust system. Operating your heater at an abnormally low temperature favors the accumulation of creosote and therefore, the risk of a chimney fire. A thermometer will prove very useful especially if other members of your family are not as familiar with wood heating. The thermometer will help them use the heater is a safe and efficient way.
At which frequency do we have to replace the refractory bricks?
Bricks in good condition do not need to be replaced. But, if there is a crack in the brick, even if it does run through it, it should be replaced.
How often should my chimney be cleaned?
It depends on how much it is used. When a ¼ inch of creosote builds up on the internal chimney wall, it needs to be cleaned. Most chimneys are cleaned annually or semi-annually in order to avoid the accumulation of residues. Ideally, a chimney should be cleaned at the end of the season to be ready for the next winter season, and another cleaning session should occur at mid-season. The type of heating appliance you use can have a major impact on creosote build-up. If you use a AS/NZS 4012 & 4013 certified appliance, along with dry seasoned hardwood, the accumulation of creosote should be minimal.
Take this occasion to clean your heater too! Make sure to inspect and clean the baffle plate for any signs of wear/damage, the injector tubes and the electric fan.
Which wood essence should I burn?
Manufacturers are held by law to state the type of fuel the unit was tested with on a label in plain view. However, you can use alternative woods to light the fire.
Hardwood species in Australia differ greatly, from eucalypts, such as redgum, to other species including Ash, Beech and Box. Generally, Forest Redgum is the safest fuel to use as it has a medium to high density (1010kg/m3) with a low resin content. Therefore, it burns clean and long without over firing the appliance.
Some other species appear to burn well but can be quite destructive to the materials your heater is made from. These destructive species are primarily YellowBox, GreyBox (both around 1100kg/m3 density) and to a lesser extent BrushBox (880kg/m3 density). These have a very resin rich sapwood which super heats the fuel and affects the heater.
Even if you have the best wood essence, make sure to test its moisture content. Wood can look like it is seasoned and dry, but when it is cut open to reveal the heartwood, it can still be 30% moisture content by weight (or more). Among others, the consequences of burning wood with a high-level moisture content are:
- The heater will burn poorly (it won’t heat your home as well as it should!);
- It will create smoke, and
- It increases the formation of creosote in the chimney system.
The perfect range of moisture content is between 12% and 14% by weight.
To make sure the wood you buy has the right moisture content, you can use MFA’s digital moisture reader (AC07835).
Can I use fossil fuels in my wood heater, like coal or briquettes?
Burning briquettes, or any variant such as coal chips or any other fossil fuel is strictly not allowed and will void your warranty. These fuels are too destructive and too hot for most pressed steel fireboxes.