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Pro Tips for Lighting Your Fireplace

Tips for Starting a Fire Lighting a fire is as primitive as cavemen, and yet it is often difficult for those with no experience. Enjoying your fireplace is pretty tough when you can’t even get a fire going without filling your home with smoke or getting stressed out from the frustration of trying to ignite logs. One of the most basic safety rules for fireplaces is that lighter fluid and similar flammable liquids should never be used. Lighting a fire the correct way is a needed skill, and the following pro tips for starting a fire can help.

First Things First

Before even thinking about getting a warm fire crackling in your fireplace, make sure your chimney has been inspected within the past year. Fire safety experts all agree that annual chimney inspections are essential.

Chimney cleaning may be needed, as well. Some experts say cleaning should also be scheduled annually, but others say to have a chimney cleaned when creosote is 1/8” thick or more. Creosote is highly flammable, and some of the tar-like substance is left in your flue every time you burn firewood. The more creosote there is in your flue, the higher the risk of a dangerous chimney fire that could cause your home to catch fire.

How to Start a Fire in your Fireplace

Get the Fireplace Ready

Open the damper, which is above the firebox. It should be opened all the way. If there’s something wrong with the damper and it won’t fully open, contact a chimney expert for repairs.

Make sure the ashes in the fireplace aren’t so thick that they reach the bottom of the fireplace grate. A fire can’t get enough air that way. As needed, clean out ashes; but leave about one inch of ash, since it acts as insulation and allows a fire to burn hotter and more efficiently.

Use the safe, recommended approach to cleaning out the ashes in your fireplace. The first rule of thumb is that the embers must be cool, though they should be stored in a metal can with a lid. Place the ash can away from the house and on a non-flammable surface, such as dirt or cement, just in case. Mishandling ashes has been the cause of many fires, including deadly home fires.

Prime the Chimney Flue, as Needed

Trying to start your fire will create a smoky mess if the flue needs priming. What this means is that the chimney is filled with a column of cold air that won’t let the smoke from the fireplace rise up the chimney. Create a newspaper torch and hold it up close to the open damper. Repeat two or three times, until you can feel the direction of the air reverse so that warm air goes up the chimney.

Build the Fire like a Pro

Seasoned FirewoodIt is essential that the wood you burn in the fireplace is seasoned, which means it has low moisture content. It usually requires between 6 months and a year for logs to dry out sufficiently.

The first thing to lay on top of the grate is the largest piece(s) of firewood. Next, add some smaller pieces of firewood. Now, stack kindling twigs above that. At the very top, put the most common type of tinder, which is wadded up newspaper. Light the newspaper and any other tinder you use at the top of the fire you’ve built. The flames will slowly burn down to the larger pieces of firewood.

Who to Call for a Chimney Inspection

Contact the respected chimney professionals at Chimney Saver Solutions for a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, and any type of chimney repairs you may need. You can also get further tips on how to light a fire in your fireplace. For all of your chimney and fireplace needs, call Chimney Saver Solutions today at 804-440-5000.

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