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Are You Starting A Fire Correctly?

Sitting in front of a roaring fire is one of the most comforting – and warm – places to be during cold winter weather. However, getting a fire started is often the most difficult part of the process.

Many their best efforts, many homeowners are incorrectly starting their fires. This not only causes frustration, but can also lead to fires that burn sluggishly, need constant stoking, or burn out prematurely.

The following tips will help you start a fire correctly. While it may be different from how you’ve started fires in the past, following these tips can help you spend less time building your fire and more time enjoying it with family and friends.

1. Get the right materials

Are You Starting A Fire Correctly - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps MILong before you think about lighting your fire, it is important to make sure you have the right materials. The type of firewood you use can not only affect how well your fires start, but can also create different amounts of smoke and heat. While different people may prefer different firewood varieties, seasoned firewood should be used whenever possible. Seasoned wood, which has been allowed to cure and dry for at least six months, has much lower moisture content than freshly cut wood. These allow it to burn hotter and produce less smoke and creosote.

In addition to finding the right firewood, homeowners also need kindling to help start the fire. Softwoods such as cedar, fir, or pine are able to ignite quickly and can burn until the larger logs catch fire. Small bundles of twigs and sticks can have the same effect. While newspaper can be used, it often burns too quickly to ignite larger logs; for this reason, using smaller pieces of wood is preferable.

2. Open the damper

When the fireplace is in use, the damper needs to be open – even when starting a fire or waiting for it to extinguish. Leaving the damper even partially closed can cause smoke and dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide [http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/] to back up into the home.

If you’re having problems with smoke backing up into your home even when the damper is open, your home may be too airtight. Cracking a window even a few inches near the fireplace can help the fireplace vent better and prevent this from happening. Likewise, opening a window can have another unexpected benefit; letting more oxygen into your home can provide more “fuel to the fire,” creating a hotter and more efficient burn.

3. Try a top down fire

Building a top down fire can greatly impact how your fires burn, as well as how much you’ll need to stoke it. Place the largest logs on the bottom of the grate with the ends to the front and back; doing this creates better oxygen flow to the fire and keeps the fire from smoldering or burning sluggishly. Fill the fireplace with gradually smaller and smaller logs, topping the pile with kindling. As the smaller logs burn they ignite the logs underneath them, keeping the fire going and minimizing the need for stoking or rearranging logs.

Following these three fireplace tips can help you better start – and enjoy – your fires. For more information on getting the most out of your fireplace, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan at 734-668-4780 today!