Advice for an Expert: How to Start a Fire With Wood

how to start a fire with wood

Around 41% of homes built in 2018 had fireplaces. Fireplaces are great not only for staying warm but also for making your home more ambient. While electric fireplaces are very popular, old-fashioned wood fireplaces are also great to have.

Learning how to start a fire with wood in your fireplace isn’t hard. But there are some important steps that you need to follow. But where should you start?

Keep reading and learn more about how to start a wood-burning fireplace below.

Check the Fireplace

You should always check the fireplace before trying to start a fire. This is because the fireplace’s chimney might not be prepared to handle a fire. If the fireplace is old or hasn’t been cleaned in a while, pay careful attention to the chimney.

It may be stuffed with soot and other debris. Starting a fire with such a chimney could be dangerous. This is because the smoke can’t escape through a clogged chimney.

This may cause smoke to enter your home, which could be a serious health hazard. The flames may also catch on whatever debris is lodged in the chimney. This could cause a large fire that spreads to other parts of the house.

This is why you should always clean your chimney before starting a fire. This is true even if your fireplace is new. Cleaning it will ensure that there is nothing trapped inside that may create a fire hazard.

Make Sure the Fireplace Is Safe

Having the fireplace inspected by a professional is also a good idea. You can also use your fireplace tools to clear out any large pieces of debris.

Clean the base of the fireplace as well. If there is excess ash or soot inside, this may make it difficult for a fire to consistently burn.

You should also open the damper. The damper allows the smoke to flow up into the chimney. This prevents the smoke from flooding into your room.

Many people forget about this simple task and accidentally fill their homes with smoke. Inhaling smoke is dangerous because it can make you pass out.

Check if your fireplace has a grate inside as well. If it doesn’t, it will be hard to start and maintain a fire. This is because the fuel won’t have much space or air to stay lit.

Adding a small metal grate will drastically improve the quality of your fireplace fires. It will also make it easier to pile up logs and kindling in a more enclosed area.

Add Your Kindling

Before you add any firewood, you should start with kindling. You can use many different things for kindling. Two very common and cheap options are twigs and newspapers.

Newspapers burn very quickly, but they are great for allowing flames to jump to the logs and twigs. Get a bundle of old newspapers and crumple them up into loose balls. Don’t crush them too tightly, or it will be more difficult for them to catch fire.

Place the balled-up newspapers under the fireplace’s grates. You can also add small bundles of twigs along with the newspaper. Twigs burn slightly longer than paper.

They help keep the larger logs surrounded by flames for a longer period. Both twigs and newspaper make it easy for the fire to get very hot very fast. You can also add compressed sawdust or dried shells from nuts.

What You Need to Know

Avoid using charcoal or lighter fluid in your fireplace. While charcoal burns for a long time, it will fill your home with a very thick and musty smell. This smell will permeate the walls and all your furniture and will be very hard to remove.

The smell of lighter fluid is similar. It is better to start with simple materials like twigs and paper. Typing paper is a good alternative to newspapers.

The downside of using paper is that it is more likely to create a lot of ash. Plant wax is another good option for starting a fire. It catches fire easily and will help keep the fire lit.

Make sure you don’t stuff the fireplace too much with kindling. This will deprive the larger logs of the oxygen that they need to burn.

Add and Light the Logs

Once you add the kindling, you can start adding the logs. The best logs are made of seasoned hardwood. These are very dry and dense logs.

They burn for a long time without much effort. Some examples of this type of wood include birch and oak. Avoid logs that have any kind of moisture in them.

The more moist the logs are, the harder it will be to get them to burn. Some logs are naturally soft, moist, and not very flammable. Spruce, pine, and fir are all examples of softwood.

Softwood is also not a good choice for fireplaces because they produce too much smoke. Place the logs on top of each other in a grid or pyramid formation. This gives the logs plenty of space to burn.

It also helps them burn more evenly. This should allow them to stay lit for a long time.

How to Start a Fire With Wood

Learning how to start a fire with wood isn’t difficult once you learn the steps. You first need to make sure that your fireplace is clean and safe before you start a fire. Then, add kindling such as newspaper, compressed sawdust, or twigs.

You can then add your logs of choice, preferably hardwood. You can then enjoy the warm fire that your fireplace has to offer. To learn more about fireplaces, check out our options.

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The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Wood Burning Fireplace for Your Home

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