When the weather turns colder, cozying up to the warmth of a crackling fire in the fireplace is something many homeowners enjoy. But not everyone looks forward to lighting it. If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck. The following guide will show you the right way to light a fire in the fireplace and keep it lit.
Chimney Inspection and Cleaning
You’re probably anxious to start that fire to take the chill out of the room, but there may be risk factors lurking in the chimney or fireplace. So, you will first need to check to ensure it is safe for use. Hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and clean the chimney of any obstructions or creosote before lighting the first fire of the season. You will also need to make any necessary chimney repairs too. Then, check the firebox to ensure there isn’t excess ash. Having too much ash inside the firebox can make it challenging to start the fire. About an inch or so of ash will help keep the fire lit and burn more efficiently.
Step by Step Process
To light the fireplace, you need three main ingredients: fuel, kindling, and tinder. For the fuel, you need seasoned firewood logs. For the kindling, gather some large twigs or small branches. You can use old newspapers or pinecones for the tinder.
Prepare the fire bed. A strategic arrangement of your wood, kindling, and tinder is vital. Start with the tinder at the bottom of the pile, add kindling on top of the tinder, and stack some wood logs on top of the kindling. Start with a few seasoned firewood logs; you can add more later. Remember to leave some space between the logs for better air circulation.
Open the damper. The damper must remain open to draw in the oxygen to fuel the fire and allow the smoke and exhaust to vent through the chimney. But don’t forget to close the damper after you extinguish the fire.
Warm up the flue. You can light your fire without warming the flue, but you could experience a draft where smoke may flow back into your home. To warm the flue, light some rolls of newspaper and hold them up inside the flue for around ten to fifteen seconds. It will also reduce air pressure, and oxygen will flow more smoothly.
Lighting the fireplace. Grab your box of long matchsticks. You can pick them up at your local hearth dealer. Strike the matchstick to light the tinder. The tinder will spread the fire to the kindling, and the kindling will slowly ignite the wood. A word of caution – never use a lighter, kerosene, or any flammable liquids or materials to start a fire in the fireplace. It can cause an explosion.
While the firewood is burning, you can add extra logs as necessary to keep the fire lit. Depending on the quality of your wood, each log can burn for about two to three hours.
That’s all there is to it. Use common sense when operating your fireplace. Never leave a burning fireplace unattended. And keep pets and small children away from the fireplace. Finally, always extinguish the fire before leaving your home or going to bed. Now sit back with your favorite hot beverage, relax and enjoy the crackling fire.