If you’re blessed with a fireplace, then you know that one of the best things about winter is spending time in front of a warm and cosy indoor fire. What’s more relaxing than snuggling up in front of a glowing fire with a good book, a glass of wine, or some hot chocolate? If you’ve never been able to prepare that perfect fire, then this guide is for you.
1. Check up on your chimney
Before you light up your fire, especially if it’s for the first time, it’s always a good idea to check that your chimney is clean and free of blockages. If your chimney has not been used for a long time, old leaves and animal nests may have caused blockages that may result in your house being permeated with smoke.
You can always call a chimney sweep to come and check out your chimney before the winter season begins.
A quick test to see if your chimney draws sufficiently is to light a candle and hold it in the fireplace. You’ll be able to tell by the flame whether air is flowing from inside your home, out through the chimney.
2. Open the damper
Before you start your fire it’s important to make sure that your fireplace damper is open; if you leave it closed you may not only risk filling your entire house with smoke, but operating the fireplace with the damper closed generates less heat.
However, it’s important to always leave the damper closed when your fireplace is not in use – you can always check on it before going to bed.
3. Set up your fire materials
The next step is to set up the materials you need to start your fire.
Set up the base of your fireplace with crumpled up newspaper pages or tinder comprising of small twigs – this will help ignite the fire. Follow by placing the type of fuel used for your fireplace – this could be logs, coal or other materials, but wood is generally used for most fireplaces.
Make sure your wood is dry, but the secret to choosing the right firewood lies in knowing the different types of wood and their characteristics; if you enjoy a crackling fire for instance, then fir wood would be your best choice.
4. Get Sufficient Air Inside
Sufficient air is an important component for setting up a roaring fire in your fireplace. Sometimes a fire may not get enough air because of negative air pressure in your home, which may be a result of your home being too tightly sealed.
Opening a window may provide a temporary solution if the lack of air is caused by negative air pressure. If you have a fireplace with glass doors, open the doors 30 minutes before igniting your fire. This will allow your fireplace to reach room temperature.
5. Light up the materials
After you have set up everything you need for a thriving fire in your fireplace, the last step is to light the materials – this would be the newspaper or tinder you placed, and for this you can use matches or a lighter.
It is highly advised to never attempt using liquid accelerants in your fireplace as this would be extremely dangerous for your household.
Written in collaboration with Dialdirect