Staying warm this winter

For me, being comfortable and warm is important. I read articles about elderly people who can’t afford heating and it breaks my heart. In our home in Melbourne we had central heating. I think a good and practical option.

When we moved to our big old house in Tathra we realised that the main heating was unflued gas. Such heating is illegal in Victoria, so it was new to us. We purchased a new gas heater, but it was still unflued. Suffering from paranoia as I do, I was worried about the possible consequences of people being asleep with the gas heating running. There have been a number of deaths, even though it was usually due to the appliances not being serviced properly.

We then purchased a Nobo electric heater, supposedly the most efficient and effective electric heating. It did not heat a large area and the electricity bill was huge. We then considered a wood heater. Unless there is ready access to fire wood, wood is expensive, messy and not so good for the environment.

I was left with the dilemma of how to heat our big old home without costing a fortune. On a holiday to New Zealand in 2019, we stayed in a beautiful, remote, cliff top home in the Catlins, way down south of the South Island. This beautiful home had a pellet heater. I had never heard of or seen a pellet heater. It was truly amazing.

When we returned to Australia, I ‘googled’ pellet heaters. We discovered that there is a company in Eden that sells top quality Italian pellet heaters and the company also produce their own pellets. The pellets are made of timber waste and sawdust.

We decided to have a pellet heater installed. It is fabulous. So warm and cosy and efficient. It produces virtually no waste. Sitting in the warm room in front of the flame is so comforting. I am not sure that Australia has been very good at promoting these heaters. We are still learning and not sure of the overall running cost yet, but it is definitely better for the environment.

I feel so happy and love it.

This week I’m lending out my blog to my friends. Today’s post – and the final one – is by Anne, who’s fallen in love…with pellet heaters. Actually, she’s kinda convinced me. If I ever have any money, I’ll buy one!


  1. Congratulations wood is at least carbon neutral. Nobo as you observed is a very clever advertiser but a demon on electricity use. The advice on gas heaters needs to be observed because carbon monoxide is deadly and it is a byproduct of burning gas. It must be exhausted outside as you observe. Reverse cycle electricity units are another alternative. As a Victorian I hate the cold too. Good to realise the days have turned in the right direction.

  2. In most European countries pellet burners are forbidden because they produce to much dust pollution. On the other hand, I don’t see what harm it can do in a rural environment.

  3. I’m rather sceptical about the wood pellet industry and burning wood (although I have to admit we have a wood-burning stove in our living-room for a little extra warmth on winter evenings, burning logs). First of all, although burning wood is carbon neutral if you take a long, theoretical view, there is a short-term increase in CO2 output before any new trees planted can have time to reabsorb the same amount again, even if the producer does plant trees to compensate. We could argue that the CO2 has already been absorbed by the wood, so we’re just releasing it again as part of a natural cycle, but the trouble is that with CO2 levels too high already, we can’t afford that short-term hit.

    Secondly, there’s a scandal in the USA and Europe that wood pellets touted as timber waste are being produced from whole trees felled in the Southern USA and shipped to Europe. We’ve been celebrating conversion of a powerstation from coal to pelleted biomass near me in Britain before we discovered that’s the source. And even if it was waste, it’s worse for the environment than the coal was, as the wood burns less efficiently and it’s been shipped so far with diesel-powered ships! I hope the source of your pellets is better.

    It is really hard to make decisions in these hyper-capitalist times. Green energy is certainly making progress, but not as much as is often presented by our politicians and businesses.

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