It's the warmth of Peter Lindbeck's new wood-burning stove that does it for him - the actual warmth from the fire but also the human warmth.
"It just gathers everyone together," he said. When the fire is roaring, the family finds its way to it. Televisions get turned off. Talk starts. The stove is the magnet.
"If there's not enough chairs, they sit on the floor. Everyone together - which is how it used to be. You can turn the telly off and just look at the fire. It's like yoga," he said.
Mr Lindbeck is part of a consumer movement defying the urgings of environmentalists (though Mr Lindbeck says his stove is very efficient. It'll go for eight hours on a piece of wood the size of a brick).
Sellers of wood-burning stoves say sales have gone through roof. There's now a two-month waiting list in Canberra. Stove installers are in short supply. Demand for the fires is up 25 per cent, says Mike Bresnik of Fyshwick Home and Heating.
He reckons the Covid lockdown boosted sales. People were stuck at home and they felt the cold during the day - and reverse-cycle systems just don't provide enough heat in a Canberra winter, says Luis Gonazalez of Fyshwick Home and Heating.
"On the most frigid morning, we were inundated with customers," he said.
But this rise in demand goes against government policy.
Since 2004, the ACT government has run a Wood Heater Replacement Program under which people can get rebates if they relinquish old wood-burning heaters. The sale of firewood is regulated to try to ensure wood is seasoned. Unseasoned wood burns with more smoke.
Wood heaters are prohibited in Coombs and future suburbs in the Molonglo Valley, but the existing suburb of Wright is exempt. Wood heaters are already banned in Dunlop and East O'Malley.
The ACT government has given 1228 rebates to have wood heaters replaced or removed since 2004. In the last five years, it's worked out at about 25 a year, with a slight drop in 2019-20. There have been 33 rebates given so far in the current financial year.
"All of these initiatives have put the ACT at the forefront nationally in addressing wood smoke pollution and have resulted in a significant improvement in our air quality in the last decade," the ACT government said.
"In winter, wood heaters used for home heating create particle pollution in Canberra. This can create a haze that reduces visibility, causes breathing difficulty for some people and is a major source of air pollution in Canberra."
But the ACT government is fighting against consumer demand. Even the chief executive of Asthma Australia concedes wood fires have a "lovely ambience".
But Michele Goldman adds a nice aroma shouldn't disguise the pollution - and pain to asthma sufferers - which the stoves cause.
"We all love the ambience of a beautiful fire but some people would surprised if they knew what they were breathing in. They've got a huge impact on health," she said.
"Rather than let the situation grow and get worse, we need to knock it on the head."
The sellers say the newest stoves are much-improved on the older ones, particularly the ones made in the European Union which have the highest environmental standards.
But in a Canberra winter, warmth is a strong call.
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