A dozen tips on what to do and what to avoid doing to build a fire easily and safely in your fireplace:
- Do have a chimney sweep inspect and clean your flue annually.
- Do make sure your fireplace damper is open before you light a fire.
See How to Open the Damper.
- Do use a fireplace grate to provide a good draft for your fire.
- Do take the time to ‘stack’ your fire correctly to build a fire that will light easily and remain lit:
3-4 balled-up sheets of newspaper under the grate, then
a handful of tinder: slivers of pine or fatwood, then
4-5 pieces of kindling : 1 inch square sticks of firewood.
Add firewood only after the kindling is burning.
- Do warm your flue before lighting the fire: Make a “torch” by twisting together 2-3 sheets of newspaper, lighting it, and holding it near the opening of the flue, near the top of your firebox.
- Do use dry, split, seasoned hardwood firewood, that is, wood that has seasoned for at least 6 months. See How to Tell If Your Firewood is Seasoned.
- Don’t burn more pine or other softwood than necessary to get the fire started.
(Burning softwood deposits creosote in your flue, increasing the chance of a chimney fire.)
- Don’t burn newspaper or magazine pages with colored print or gift wrapping paper.
(The fumes may be toxic.)
- Don’t ever use gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in your fireplace.
(An explosion is a real possibility.)
When you build a fire in your fireplace, woodstove or fire pit, follow these tips to have a fire that will easily light and remain lit.
What to Do and What Not to Do to Build a Fireplace Fire