We do get many questions that seem similar, but please keep in mind that the answer can vary depending on your own personal circumstances. This is particularly important when it comes to matching a major purchase with the style of home you have, your own taste in design and colours, often the location of your home and the balance between needs, wants, desires and what is practical or affordable.
So please understand the answers or advice given in our FAQ’s is very general. The best way to answer your questions will always be to talk directly to a professional that takes the time to understand what it is you are trying to achieve. If you have specific questions always feel free to call our office (03) 5261 4505 or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
To make things a little easier we have divided the FAQ’s into ‘Heating & Cooling’ or ‘Outdoor & BBQ’.
There are many different styles, shapes, sizes, heating capacities and these change from year to year depending on design trends or some innovations. The underlying design of fireplaces has not changed dramatically over the last 40 years. The biggest innovation came from ‘convection’ heaters compared to radiant heaters.
The main types of Wood Heaters are: –
Convection Wood Heaters
Convection heaters are designed with ‘air cavities’ around the outside of the firebox and sometimes a further decorative outer casing. Inside is a convection chamber that heats the air in the cavity and creates natural air flow. That is; hot air rises pulling cold air into the cavity to allow constantly circulating air, as warm air rises it is displaced by cooler air, which then warms up from the fire in the convection chamber and in turn rises again repeating the cycle. This cycle can be increased (once the fire has reached a reasonable operating temperature), through the addition of a booster fan. Note: The Fan does not increase the ‘fire’ heat output, it just moves more air and helps to push the warm air further from the fireplace.
Radiant Wood Heaters
Radiant heaters rely on size and surface area to heat. The greater surface area exposed to the air the more heat output. That is why most radiant heaters are different shapes and have features like ‘ribbed’ surfaces that increase their surface area. These fires heat the air around the fire and ‘radiate’ out from the fireplace. So, they do take longer to heat up a larger space. Which is not to say they will not have high heat output. They also often have ‘Heat Banks’ built into their structure which allow the heater to continue to radiate heat even when the fire burns out. You also have the option to add a thermally powered fan that sits on top of your appliance and gently circulates warm air around the room.
Inbuilt or Insert
The majority of Inbuilt Wood Heaters are of a Convection design.
Inbuilt heaters are designed to be built into a non-combustible structure within a building or home. It is a modern energy-efficient alternative to an open brick fireplace. If your home has an existing brick fireplace, you can upgrade with an inbuilt insert heater.
If there is no existing fireplace you may require the addition of a ‘Zero Clearance’ box. Often referred to as an ‘Insert’ heater. These allow you to transform any blank wall with minimal structural impact. This option gives the flexibility of placing the heater in the room of your choice.
Straight radiant Wood Inserts are generally old technology and quite rare. Some convection Inbuilt Wood Heaters are available without a Booster fan. These Wood Heaters still have convection designs and produce more heat than a straight radiant heater.
These are less popular in Australia due to limited options being readily available and consequently there are less reliable fuel options.
Note: Freestanding heaters generally produce more heat than an in-built, even of a similar style, due to increased air flow around the surface of the firebox. Or in simple terms you will lose up to 10% of the heat up the chimney or inside the enclosure.
The simple answer to this question is no, it is not recommended to self-install a wood heater. Wood heaters need to be installed according to the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2918, specific manufacturer’s instructions and the Building Code of Australia. This includes a certificate of compliance which is your protection. If there is an issue with your fireplace your warranty will be void if you do not have a certificate of compliance completed by a qualified installer. A qualified installer will be able to explain in detail the installation conditions and process based on your type of home and any home insurance requirements before you proceed.
On average, a quality wood heater can last up to 20 years. Cheaper models may not last more than ten years, while a well-constructed; well maintained and properly used wood heater can have a life expectancy of more than 20 years.
There are different factors that influence how long a wood heater can last and they include the quality of the materials used, how regularly the heater is used and for how long, whether the heater has been properly used or over-fired, replacement parts availability and how well maintained the wood heater has been.
If you want your wood heater to last, it’s essential to operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions and with the proper care. It’s best to use dry seasoned hardwood and avoid the green unseasoned wood. Our Wood heaters are from tried and tested reputable brands, some companies we have worked with for 40 years.
There isn’t a measurable answer since you will need to factor in all other variables that will impact how long a piece of wood lasts for. This will depend on the size of the wood, the density, the moisture content and how many pieces of wood are in a wood heater.
There are many benefits of owning a wood heater especially during those cold winter nights. A wood burner can produce heat throughout your home by warming it up quickly and effectively. There are a range of different sizes available with varying levels of heat output. It is best to choose a model that is appropriate for the size of your home as well as the space that it will be used in. A wood heater can also create a more comforting and homely feel to your home.
With energy prices constantly increasing, people are finding it expensive to heat up their homes. Therefore, wood heaters are efficient and cost effective during those cold winter months for your family. Wood can be a cheaper resource and it will end up saving you money in the long haul.
The current wood heaters we sell are more efficient than ever and better for you and the environment. Our wood heaters are designed to burn hardwood and are tested to the most stringent of standards. The current joint Australian and New Zealand Standard 4013/4012 measure particulate emissions and efficiency and we are proud to say all of our heaters exceed the requirements of these standards. Buying a quality wood heater gives you a clean burning, efficient method of keeping your home warm throughout winter. Our wood heaters are an investment towards restoring the environment and protecting its long-term sustainability.
We all need to consider our use of natural resources and the effect we have on the environment. Wood, as a form of natural energy, is a sustainable and renewable fuel source for heat generation. Wood burning in an efficient wood heater does not add to the greenhouse effect.
If you are thinking of purchasing a wood heater, it is important to ensure that you adhere to Australian Standard by getting it professionally installed and that you operate it efficiently and with care. By taking all the safety precautions to operate it correctly you will maintain the safety of yourself and your family. The wood must also be of sufficient quality (dry wood that has been properly seasoned) such as Hardwood firewood for it work efficiently.
Educating children on the importance of fire safety will prevent children from seriously injuring themselves such as keeping matches and lighters out of reach of children. It is also important to always supervise when children are around.
Wood heaters with high efficiency levels use less wood to generate the same amount of heat. This allows them to create less emissions when the wood heater is functioning and operating correctly. The current Australian Standard for wood heater efficiency must be a minimum of 60%. All of our wood heaters exceed the Australian Standards.
Wood heaters are not too hard to clean, though it is best to get the flue of the heater cleaned annually to be safe and worry-free. We can help you with different options, please talk to one of our staff.
Other parts of a wood heater do not require special training, just caution and safety due to its hot nature. Often the firebox requires much less cleaning than most people think. In fact, it is sometimes of greater benefit to NOT clean out the firebox. Using good quality firewood will greatly reduce the residue (ash) left in the bottom of the firebox. This fine powdered ash is a great heat bank and will help the fire operate efficiently. The only time we recommend removing the excess ash is when it impacts the airflow in the firebox, or it has built up to a level that reduces the firebox capacity too much. When the time does come to clean your wood heater, you must wait for the heater to completely stop burning before using a shovel and brush to sweep up the ash gathered inside. Once the wood heater has completely cooled down, remove the ash using metal tools to keep yourself and the equipment safe. If you want to, you can spread the ash across your garden as the ashes can be used as soil. For the glass we recommend using a proper wood stove glass cleaner once the glass is cold.
For the exterior, most of the time, a duster is sufficient. For a deeper clean use warm soapy water and soft brush to scrub off any dirt and residue. If you use water around your wood heater, be aware and stay clear of any electrical components! It is also not a bad idea to light the fire and allow the heat to dry of any wetted areas. If the exterior surface gets scratched or scuffed, we can show you how to touch up painted surfaces to keep your wood heater looking great.
About BBQs & Fireplaces has some simple rules when it comes to installations.
Installations must be done to the Australian Standard.
A certificate of compliance must be issued once complete.
Do not cut corners.
It is best to have your wood heater professionally installed to ensure the heater has been installed properly and doesn’t pose as a fire hazard. Costs factors can differ when installing a wood heater with the different variables such as ceiling height, location, roof style, hearth requirements, labour, customisation and the type or style of wood heater are just some of the main factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Experience tells us that cutting corners initially may (or may not) save a small amount of money, but the impacts can be very costly later. Reduced efficiency and higher running costs are the most common. Poor or non-compliant installation resulting in a failure of either the wood heater of the flue can be both costly and devastating. Non-compliance (even with a compliance certificate) will impact your home insurance.
Buying the right wood is important to ensure that your Wood Heater remains efficient. Use quality dry, seasoned, untreated hardwood. Wood that has been newly cut still contains a higher amount of water. This sort of wood is deemed unseasoned and burning it can be difficult. Wet wood doesn’t burn well and creates more smoke during the burn as the evaporating water cools the fire.
As a rule, you should be buying this year to burn next year. Wood with a moisture content of 20% or less and has been seasoned for at least a year will ensure long- lasting optimal burns for those warm nights in. Moisture meters are available to check the moisture content of firewood.
The flue must protrude no less then 600mm with nothing obstructing within 3600mm. However, there are other factors to be taken into consideration. For example, the top of the flue/chimney must be no less than 4600 mm from the Hearth where the wood heater is installed.
Every wood heater has a slightly different requirement depending on several different factors. The actual different distances can also vary depending on the flue kit selected or the default kit that the wood heater was tested with.
Sometimes the style of heater you like may not have the required clearances to fit into the location you want. This is a situation where each individual factor needs to be taken into consideration. There are different ways we can help to reduce clearances, but to determine what or if this would be required needs more information. Please ask one of our staff for more assistance.
Generally, firebricks will last 10 + Years and most manufacturers have specific replacement bricks available. There is also a range of different sizes that can be trimmed if your size is not available.
Yes. Rope Seal Kits and associated adhesives are available. Most come in packs of 2m lengths and there are many different diameters to suit various brands of wood heater in stock all year around. Ask us to show you how to remove damaged seals and install replacements.
It’s important to light a fire in your wood heater correctly. This way you’ll make the most of your firewood. Just follow these simple steps on how to light a wood heater in the below:
When lighting a fire, make sure there is plenty of air supply by opening the flue, dampeners, or vents to ensure there’s good airflow when the fire is lit.
Stack and light the kindling by building a small pyramid-shaped structure in the middle.
Once the burning kindling settles, it’s time to add the pieces of firewood. Place a few smaller pieces of firewood onto the kindling, make sure you allow space between them so air can circulate through. Partially close the door leaving a gap of about an inch to let in maximum air.
Once the kindling is burning well, it’s time to add the larger logs. Be sure to allow good airflow between each log, to prevent smouldering and smoke from occurring.
You can now shut and secure the door of the wood heater to allow the fire to build up. Once the logs are properly alight, you can adjust the air vents to half open or less so that your wood burns for longer.
Now just sit back and enjoy the warmth of the fire.
Every 1 to 2 years you should engage a gas plumber for a service to ensure that your gas fire is still working at its optimum. The flues should also be checked at each service to ensure there are no obstructions or issues that have occurred since the initial installation.
No, not for most modern Gas Fireplaces that draw fresh air from outside. Many utilise two separate (small flexible) flues. One exhausts the gas fumes while the other brings outside air into the firebox to feed the combustion. This ensures that the air quality in the room is not affected.
Our leading brands often have a factory converted NG option. Almost all of the other BBQ’s can be converted to connect to natural gas, the conversion must be done by a qualified person (Gas Fitter) using authorised parts.
You can test for leaks by spraying a mixture of soapy water, 1/3 soap 2/3 water, over the gas bottle fittings and hose. If it bubbles, then there is a leak. Tighten the connections with the proper tools or replace the hose if it is leaking. Recheck.
Most BBQ’s are manufactured and approved for outdoor use only. Never operate the BBQ inside your home, garage, recreational vehicle, or any enclosed area. Ask us about ‘Flame Failure’ options.
Select an outdoor location safely away from any flammable or combustible materials and in a position where passers-by are unlikely to be burnt or meet with an accident. Keep the BBQ a minimum of 45cms (18”) from any combustible material.
Position the barbecue out of any direct wind which could affect combustion. This especially applies to the side burner.
Position the barbecue on a level surface. This applies to both mobile and built-in units.
This method of BBQing where the food is directly exposed to the heat source or flame. Generally thinner cuts of meat, fish and poultry that cook fast, are more successful with this form of cooking, whereas thicker cuts are best cooked by the indirect method, or a combination of both.
This method of cooking only applies if you have a roasting hood. Indirect cooking is where the heat circulates around the food, cooking by convection. This is similar to an oven and is recommended for rotisserie cooking, roasts, poultry, casseroles, vegetables and whole fish. The indirect method of cooking can also be used to cook such items as thick meat and fish steaks that have been quickly seared on the grill by the direct method then completed by the indirect method.
Always pre-heat the BBQ.
Warning: Never cook with more than 2 burners on “High” when the hood is down. With smaller BBQ’s, burners must be on “Low” when the hood is closed. For Charcoal BBQ’s, simply move the coals away from the centre of the BBQ and place your food in the centre of the barbecue.
Ensure your BBQ is preheated, never place food onto a cold BBQ as this will cause food to stick. A light coating of cooking oil applied to the meat and/or cooking surface will help prevent food from sticking. Cooking oil sprays may be used to coat the food or cooking surface prior to cooking, but as the spray can be flammable, they should NEVER be used during cooking, while the burners are alight. Teflon liners as they are great for marinades and soft batter like cooking pancakes.
Yes. If you are cooking a roast, it is a good idea to use a Roast Holder, which not only keeps the meat away from the heat source but sits neatly into a baking tray. The indirect cooking is the best way to roast meat with the hood down.
Grill marks is what you want on your BBQ meats and you will not get them from moving your meat too much around. To achieve them you place your steak or chicken onto the hot grill and let it sit there for at least 2 minutes. Rotate the meat by approx. 1 quarter and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat the same process on the other side.
A meat thermometer is the only really safe way to test that meat is cooked to your satisfaction. Use the chart below to check against the temperatures recorded by the thermometer when you insert it into the thickest part of the meat. Take care when inserting the thermometer to make sure that it does not touch any area of bone. It is also advisable to check the temperature of large pieces of meat in more than one section.
Medium Rare: 55-60°C
Medium Well: 65-70°C
Well done: 75°C
Well done: 75°C
Poultry should be above 75C to ensure it is cooked properly and to avoid food poisoning
Fish is cooked when:
The flesh easily separates when tested with a fork
The flesh comes easily away from the bone
It loses its translucent appearance and become opaque
Heat the grill up high then rub two halves of lemons dipped in salt into the grill surface. The acidity and abrasiveness in the salted lemons will break down any stubborn fat and grease to make light work of cleaning.
We recommend that you clean the stainless-steel body (outside of grill and cart) with a spray cleaner that is approved for stainless steel and only clean when the grill is cool and in indirect light. Never use steel wool, chemical cleaners or powder and paste type cleaners. To clean the cooking grates/plate, scrub them immediately after cooking, using a hard bristled grill brush that is dipped in water. The food particles will fall onto the flame tamer and burn off when you cook again or fall into the drip tray.
Our BBQs are made from commercial grade stainless steel, if proper care of the stainless steel is taken the product should not rust. Some surface oxidisation may occur if the BBQ is covered while damp or dirty or if the BBQ is located within 2-3 kilometres of coastal areas.
Turn off the gas at source, turn all control knobs to the OFF position wait for a minute before trying again. Check the gas hose connections, there may be a gas leak at the connections, ensure all connections are tightened properly by using a spanner.
BBQ’s simply require a leak test every time the cylinder is refilled and a good clean after every use, this should be done by the owner. Any repairs of a technical nature (that is to say, related to the gas or electrical side of the BBQ’s operation) needs to be carried out by a qualified gas fitter.
Occasionally the igniter pins move away from each other or away from the burner when the BBQ is being moved, simply pressing them closer together or a little closer to the burner so that you can see the spark. Depending on which BBQ you have, some ignitions are battery powered and the batteries will need changing from time to time, if water finds its way into the black ignition boxes they will need to be replaced.
Please follow the below links for the most common questions and answers relating to air-conditioning –