8 Steps for Starting a Safe Fire

wood-fire-402202_1280Most people probably think starting a fire in their fireplace or wood-burning stove should be a pretty easy task. But if you don’t start your fire correctly, you could end up with a room full of smoke. Therefore, here is a recommended method for getting your fire going, so you can enjoy the comforts of a cozy fire in no time.

1. Remove any ashes from your fireplace or stove first. You should always let any fire cool completely before you sweep up the ashes – to be safe, let the ashes cool for up to a day. Sweep the ashes and coals into a metal bucket – never a plastic garbage can or bag. Take the bucket outside, away from your house. Let the ashes sit for another day to ensure all the embers have died before disposing of them. Ashes are a wonderful fertilizer for flowers, so sprinkled them in your garden.

2. Crumble single sheets of newspaper into balls and place them on top of the grate or in between the andirons, the horizontal iron bars. Don’t use any newspaper printed with colored inks since it can leave a flammable residue in your chimney. Place strips of newspaper on top of crumpled newspaper balls. Or, you can use other tinder options, like birch bark, dried corncobs, dried pinecones or Applewood chips. Tinder helps to ignite the kindling.

3. Place kindling, like pine or birch twigs, on top of the crumpled newspaper in a crisscross pattern. You’ll need around a dozen sticks. Make sure to leave some spaces between the twigs so air can circulate. In place of kindling, you may want to use a manufactured firestarter.

4. Arrange a few thin, split logs loosely on top of the tinder and kindling. Make sure your firewood is thoroughly seasoned. If you’re not sure whether you should use soft or hardwoods, refer to this blog post.

5. Open the damper on your fireplace or stove fully.

6. Light the tinder with a long match.

7. Add a few medium-sized logs to the fire once it’s burning steadily. However, don’t overfeed the fire. You don’t want too many logs, otherwise you could smother the fire or cause it to blaze out of control. Plus, you want to make sure air can get in between the logs, so the fire can breathe.

8. Shut the fire screen and enjoy the ambiance.

At least once a year, you should hire a chimney sweeping company, like T. J.’s Chimney Service, to professionally clean your fireplace or stove and flue. Otherwise, harmful creosote can build up on the inner surfaces of your flue walls. Creosote, a highly flammable material, is the cause of many disastrous house fires. Contact T. J.’s Chimney Service at 317-455-5310 to schedule your chimney inspection and cleaning today for peace of mind.