Step-by-Step Approach to Starting a Fire in Your Fireplace

By Dede Mulligan | Building a Fire
Jan. 292015
Starting a Fire in Fireplace? Follow these 8 simple tips!
Starting a Fire in Fireplace? Follow these 8 simple tips!

Contrary to what most people think, starting a fire in fireplace and maintaining it is not as simple as throwing some logs in a pill, and lighting a match. A combination of airflow, correct wood, and placement of the logs are important to starting and maintaining a fire. Having the knowledge and skills to nurture a wood burning fire takes time to learn and practice.

Today’s blog post is going to focus on how to start, maintain, and set up a correct fire so that you too, can become a pro at cultivating your own.

8 Tips for Starting a Fire in Fireplace & Maintaining It

  1. Open your damper to make sure the smoke can escape, so that your fire has proper airflow.
  2. Use kiln dried firewood to ensure that your fire catches easy, and is pollutant free.
  3. You will need some form of starter wood (kindling) and newspaper. An easy way to obtain some is by walking around your yard and picking up any sticks that have fallen to the ground because they have become natural seasoned.
  4. Form your pill of wood with 2 logs parallel to each other placing your kindling in the middle on top of the grate. Under the grate place about 5 to 8 pieces of crumbled news paper in the middle.  Be careful not to crumble your newspaper too tight.
  5. Light the news paper and wait a few minutes for the kindling to fully catch. Then add between 2 to 4 more logs crossing the 2 parallel ones already on the fire.
  6. Successfully maintaining your fire is done by keeping red, glowing embers that will gather under your grate.
  7. Poke your fire every 30 minutes or as you deem necessary so that air can be reintroduced and your wood burns more efficiently.
  8. Plan when you will be leaving the fire because you will need to stop adding wood. It will take about 2-3 hours before the fire will die and you never want to leave your fire unattended.

Stages of Your Fire

Wood burnings come in a 3 stage cycle: water evaporation, wood smoke, and charcoal formation.

Water evaporates when wood is burned because up to half of a woods original weight is water, and if it is properly seasoned then it will less than 20%.The wetter the wood is, the more energy it takes to burn.  Kiln dried firewood has around 10-15% moisture content, meaning it’s the easiest to start and speeds up the evaporation stage.

When your wood is smoking, you have correctly assembled a fire. Smoke represents combustible gas and tar droplets that are a result of many chemical reactions going on inside the wood.  The by-product of this reaction is flames and heat which we love and enjoy.

The charcoal formation stage happens when the gases and tars have vaporized out of the wood.  If given enough air, charcoal will burn cleanly and with a reddish glow because it is almost pure carbon. If you have a lot of charcoal, make sure it is well vented because it can produce carbon monoxide, which can be toxic.

Premier Firewood Company™ Provides Firewood That Is Easy To Light and Maintain

Kiln dried firewood offers many distinct advantages from any other type of unseasoned or unconditioned wood. By drying our firewood in a kiln, we ensure that the moisture content is low enough to make lighting the wood as easy as possible. Premier Firewood Company™‘s wood is insect and mold free. If you live in Connecticut, New York City or Westchester County, New York, buy the best kiln dried firewood in the area from us. Call us directly at 203-866-4252 to place your order now!

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