Getting the fireplace started with a good, constant fire is harder than you’d think. It’s not like you need some sort of special technique, but you do need to follow the right steps! And what are those steps? Keep reading to find out!
“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” - Paul Theroux
Clean the Chimney
We’ve said it a thousand times and we’ll say a thousand more if that’s what it takes:
You need at least one chimney sweep every year!
So if you haven’t gotten your chimney swept this year yet, don’t even think about starting the fireplace before that.
It’s common to find creosote build up, soot, ashes remainings, animal nests, and old leaves there. All that could damage either your fireplace or your health (or both).
Choose the Right Wood
If you have a seasonal wood provider, that’s great! It’ll make your job a lot easier.
If you need to go out and choose the wood you’ll use for the fireplace, go with denser wood. A good example is oak, a not-so-good example is pine.
That happens because:
Green woods (like pine itself) can produce more creosote - which is a highly flammable substance that can put your safety at risk.
Open the Damper
If the damper is closed when you start a fire, you’ll not only start a fire, but also fill the house with smoke.
First of all,
Make sure the damper is working properly, check if there’s any debris that could be getting in the way of it opening and closing.
Then you just need to remember to open the damper before starting a fire.
Prime the Flue
The idea behind priming the flue is that the flue is probably cold and if you open the damper, cold air will sink into the house. So when you prime the flue, you’ll be neutralizing the air sink.
To do this:
Ignite a piece of newspaper and hold it up the damper opening for a few minutes. Once you feel the draft reverse, you’ll know the job is done!
Balls of Newspaper + Kindling
This step will make it really easy to get the fire started. Simply:
- Crumble balls of newspaper
- Place them underneath the grate
- Ignite the newspaper
- Add kindling at the bottom of the grate
There are three main ways people like to arrange logs:
- The triangle approach
- The log cabin (when you place two logs at either end of the grate and the two perpendicular logs on top)
- The upside down method (when you put larger logs at the bottom, a smaller layer of logs on top, and repeat until you get to the top)
All three have their own ups and downs, but generally, the upside down method seems to have a better result when it comes to having a small, but long-lasting fire..
We’ve already talked a lot about fireplace safety, it can’t hurt to repeat.
So here’s a quick recap:
- Use fireplace screens when the fire is lit (and after that too)
- Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they’re working properly
- Keep a metal shovel and container near the fireplace so you can remove ashes build up
Remember: ashes also help light a fire, but it should never be higher than 2 inches.
Are you ready to get your fire going? Get a free quote for a chimney sweep now!
More from homeyou:
- 5 Reasons Why You Need a Chimney Sweeping
- How to Insulate Your Home for Winter (On a Budget!)
- 5 Important Steps To Keep Your Fireplace Safe and Warm