Wood Heaters

Generally you can remove and install a wood heater without needing permissions and permits but there are a few things you should consider before you go ahead.

Installation

You can install a wood heater without needing a permit however a registered plumber must complete the installation with plumbing Certificate of Compliance from them as proof.

Note: EPA Victoria has a couple of tips on how to make using your wood heater less smoky or smelly both before and after it’s installed.

Removal

If it is possible that the rope door gasket or the insulation below the heater contains asbestos, this poses a serious health hazard. Some heater insulation and asbestos rope used in pre-1990 heater door gaskets are made of the dangerous loose ‘friable’ asbestos.

Suspected Asbestos

While, there is no requirement for you to get a building permit to remove a wood heater.  Unless you are a ‘Class A’ asbestos removalist, don’t touch the suspected asbestos without heavy protective gear. If you are unsure, contact NATA for a list of testing facilities that will be able to test a sample of the suspected asbestos. To find a ‘Class A’ asbestos removalist, check the OHS Representative website for listings: www.ohsrep.org.au/hazards/asbestos/asbestos-in-the-home/asbestos-removalists-how-can-i-find-a-suitable-on

Keep in mind that the removalist will have to notify the Victorian Work-Cover Authority, (VWA), a specified number of days before they can commence the work, so you’ll have to wait at least 5 days before the removalist can start removing asbestos.

The only exception to this is if the asbestos removal job is classed as an ‘unexpected situation’ as per regulation 4.3.98 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007. An ‘unexpected situation’ could occur if the asbestos is actively dangerous, because one or more people have found themselves breathing asbestos particles or a ‘essential’ service, like water, sewage or internet has been blocked and can’t be re-started without removing the asbestos. In an ‘unexpected situation’ the removalist can start right away but they have to notify VWA within 24 hours of starting the job.

No Suspected Asbestos

There are no requirements for a building permit to remove a wood heater, if there is no suspected asbestos.  If you do not own the wood heater you want removed, EPA Victoria has some ideas on what to do about a neighbour’s overly smoky wood heaters.

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Last updated: 04 July 2019