Winter has arrived! So, you are probably ready to light a fire for holiday entertaining, family gatherings, or to simply enjoy a relaxing evening. When you’re ready to use your fireplace, don’t waste your time and energy by building an unsuccessful fire. Don’t allow frustration to get the better of you and decide it’s just not worth it. Make sure you’re building your best fire.
- A clean and safe fireplace
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual chimney inspections and regular chimney sweeps. This is in order to maintain your safest and most efficient chimney. If your chimney is not working properly, or is damaged or dirty, it will not support your best fire. The draft may be obstructed, or water may penetrate the masonry. This makes the fire wood harder to burn. These types of problems will be resolved when you remember to schedule routine maintenance, like sweeps and inspections.
- Proper wood
Many homeowners might not know that your fire burns better and your chimney works more efficiently when you choose properly seasoned wood. Trees produce hard and soft wood. However, both burn differently, and contain different amounts of moisture. In order to build your best fire, it’s important to cut and let the wood dry for at least six months. When wood is seasoned it will begin to pull away from the bark. It will also crack, become pale in color, and become lighter. You can look for these signs when you buy wood, as well.
- The cold chimney
It can be difficult to get a good fire going when the chimney is cold. This can be a problem for homeowners in our mild Florida climate. This is because fire is not used for home-heating, but occasional entertaining and ambiance. You might go days without lighting a fire at all, and when you do the chimney is cold again. When the chimney is cold it can be hard to get the fire to vent properly. Consequently making it difficult to build your best fire. A good way to heat the chimney adequately is to light a tightly rolled newspaper and hold it just at the flue’s opening. Let the roll burn completely to heat the chimney, then proceed to build and light your fire.
- The top-down burn
If you can master the top-down burn, you will never again fumble around with fire tee-pees, or lose your paper and kindling under large logs. The top-down burn is an upside-down fire that has the kindling on top. This allows the flame, ashes, and cinders to fall as it burns, igniting the wood below. It is a more efficient burn, burning more completely.
- The damper and vents
The chimney is made up of many parts, and they all serve a purpose. Use the damper assembly to help you light your fire. By opening it while lighting your fire, you allow more oxygen flow to the fire.
Don’t let a poorly-built fire cramp your style. When you learn to build a fire, you are better able to enjoy your fire. Build your BEST fire this winter!