Step-by-Step Directions on How To Use a Fireplace
As much as a fireplace is something almost always universally enjoyed in cold weather, getting a fire started is an unfamiliar undertaking for most people. A wood-burning fireplaces has the best aesthetics, but there are a few things you need to know to enjoy crackling fires that provide warmth for your home. The following is simple advice on how to use a wood fireplace, step-by-step
Put Safety First
Every year thousands of house fires occur because homeowners used their fireplaces without first having the chimney checked for obstructions. The most common chimney obstruction is creosote, which should be removed with chimney cleaning services every year, perhaps more frequently, depending on how often the wood-burning fireplace is used. Chimney obstructions are usually discovered during chimney inspections. All leading fire safety organizations agree that it is essential to have an annual chimney inspection no matter what fuel is used in the fireplace.
Other steps in safety include:
- Be sure your smoke detectors are placed on each floor, outside each bedroom, and wherever else they should be placed, as recommended by experts.
- Check your carbon monoxide detectors regularly, to be sure they are in good working condition.
- Keep an operational fire extinguisher in a room near where the fireplace is.
- Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from the fireplace.
- Use a fireplace screen to protect your home from embers and burning logs that may fall and could roll into the room.
Open the Damper
If you start building a fire without first opening the damper, all of the smoke and toxic fumes the fire produces will billow into your home. Open the damper all the way. If there seems to be a problem and the damper isn’t opening as it should, don’t use the fireplace until it has been checked by a certified chimney sweep and repaired or replaced as needed.
Use Only Seasoned Firewood & Kindling
Never use green wood in your fireplace. When firewood is first cut, it is bursting with moisture. A fire with green wood is extremely smoky and uses practically all of its energy burning out the moisture. More creosote is left by this type of firewood, as well, which increases the possibility of a chimney fire. The more flammable creosote there is in your chimney, the greater the chances that a spark or ember will ignite the creosote and start a chimney fire. Many people don’t realize how dangerous chimney fires are. They burn with incredibly intense heat and often destroy chimney liners, exposing combustible parts of the home and possibly starting a highly dangerous house fire.
Build an Upside-Down Fire
There are different ways to build a fire and everyone can choose their own preference. One easy type of fire to build is one in which the large logs are stacked on bottom, on the fire grate. Next lay large kindling then medium and small kindling. On the very top, place the tinder. This could be bunched up balls of newspaper, dryer lint, or tiny twigs. Light the tinder and your fire is all set to burn for a while before more logs need to be added.
Prime the Flue, If Necessary
If your chimney is located on an exterior wall and the weather has been extremely cold, the chimney is probably filled with a column of cold air. The air will push back on the warm smoke rising from your fire as you get it started. The smoke will go into your home until the chimney warms up. Abandon your fire for the moment. Create a newspaper torch by rolling up some newspaper. Taking great care not to burn yourself, light the torch and hold it up to the top of the fireplace where the damper is. It may take a time or two to replace the cold air with a healthy draft in the chimney.
Contact Burlington Fireplace & Solar
If you are interested in buying a fireplace or if you need chimney services, including masonry rebuilds, chimney crown repair, flashing repair, chimney cleaning, and chimney inspection, contact the certified chimney sweeps at Burlington Fireplace & Solar. You can visit our destination showroom, where we have more than 30 burning displays so that you can see how the different solid fuel heating appliances and electric fireplaces look in operation. Visit us at l 857 Milwaukee Avenue (Hwy 36); Burlington, WI, or call us at 262-763-3522. If needed, we can also give you first-hand advice about how to build a fire.