On a cold winter night, curling up by the fireplace is a great way to relax. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you’ve likely experienced the struggle of trying to keep a fire burning for several hours at a time. Here are some tips to help you build a long-lasting fire.
In the winter months, cold air from outside can push down into your chimney. This prevents smoke and warm air from rising in the chimney while your fire is burning.
To ensure it burns properly, you’ll need to prime the flue first to get warm air flowing. An easy way to do this is to create a torch from a rolled-up newspaper or magazine and hold it in your chimney, just above the flue. When you see smoke starting to rise, it’s warm enough to light the fire.
After each fire, be sure to remove soot and ashes from the base of your fireplace. If you have a large buildup of debris from previous fires, it will be more difficult for your fires to burn cleanly.
For an average cleaning, you can use a brush and dustpan to remove the ashes, although you’ll also want to invest in a professional cleaning periodically to remove any creosote buildup.
The damper is a flap you can open and close to let air flow through your chimney. For a strong, long-lasting fire to burn, your damper will need to be completely open. Locate the handle at the base of the chimney and check to make sure it is extended as far as possible.
The quality of your wood can affect how long your fire burns. Your wood should be fully dry – not only does dry wood burn more easily, but it produces less creosote, keeping your fireplace cleaner.
Your wood should also be at room temperature, as cold pieces of wood will take longer to catch fire. If you cut your own wood, you’ll want to store it for several months before burning it.
Instead of building your fire traditionally, with newspaper and kindling under the logs, build from the top down instead. Place a row of large logs at the base, with a row of smaller logs on top in a cross-hatch pattern.
Add a layer of kindling or newspaper on top, leaving room for air to flow through the fire.
Before heading to bed for the night, be sure to completely put out the fire to avoid any dangerous situations. Clean out the fireplace in the morning once the ashes have completely cooled.
If you live in southern middle Tennessee or the Tennessee Valley and need assistance with your fireplace, A1 Chimney Specialists can help. We offer chimney repairs, inspections, and cleanings as well as fireplace installations and other related services. Contact us at 931-967-3595 in Tennessee or 256-285-4895 in Alabama to schedule an appointment.