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Using a fireplace may seem simple, but the way that you build your fire can have a major impact on how well the fire burns. Using the wrong materials – or stacking wood logs incorrectly – can cause fires to burn out prematurely, burn sluggishly, or need to be constantly stoked. By changing how you build a fire, you and your family can fully enjoy your fireplace this winter!

1. Use the Right Firewood

For a more aromatic fire, consider using softwoods such as fir, pine, or cherry. These woods produce a fragrant smoke that makes them popular in smoking meats; while they produce larger amounts of smoke, they can be used in small amounts as kindling in indoor fires. Softwoods are also a good choice for outdoor firepits.

2. Warm the Flue

When the temperature outside is significantly colder than the temperature inside, reduce smoke blowback and drafting issues by warming the flue before starting the fire. To begin warming the flue, open the damper for several minutes; this allows the air temperature between your home and the flue to better stabilize. Next, light a bundle of kindling such as newspaper or small twigs and hold it under the open damper. This further warms up the air temperature in the flue and can make drafting easier when lighting the main fire.

3. Build Your Fire From the Top Down

How you stack the logs in your fireplace can impact how effectively the fire burns. One unusual – but extremely effective – way of stacking logs is the top-down method.. Top down fires minimize the need for stoking by ensuring the fire is well fed with fresh oxygen, helping burn all the wood in the firebox more completely.

Build a top down fire by stacking the largest logs on the bottom of the fireplace with the ends facing the front and back. Stack a layer of smaller logs on top perpendicularly; continue alternating front to back and side to side layers of progressively smaller logs until the firebox is almost full. Top the fire with kindling and add kindling throughout the stack. Ignite the kindling on top of the logs; as the fire burns down it naturally ignites each layer of logs, reducing the need to add logs or stoke the fire.

4. Have Your Chimney Swept Each Year

An annual chimney sweeping is the best way to ensure your fires burn safely and efficiently all season long. Chimney sweepings remove soot, ash, and flammable creosote, as well as check for blockages and other signs of damage. A chimney sweep can also help diagnose the cause of ongoing chimney issues such as drafting problems or leaks.

Contact Us Today!

Taking the extra time to correctly build and burn a fire can help you get the most out of your fireplace this winter. For more information on building a fire or to schedule your net chimney sweeping, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!