Tips and Tricks for Getting a Fire Going
Wood burning fireplaces do more than just increase the value of your home; they serve a functional purpose too. Fireplaces are a great source of heat, especially when it is very cold or the power goes out. And, with the right equipment, they can even be your primary source of heat for a small to medium sized home.
But, sometimes they aren’t quite as easy to get going as we’d like. A lot of factors play into this, but regardless there are safer alternatives to putting harmful, toxic chemicals in your firebox. Firestarters, equipment and even the right kind of wood can all contribute to how easy or how difficult it is to get a fire started. But, there are ways to overcome and have a roaring fire in no time!
Whether you buy them in the store or make them yourself, fire starters are a great way to get a fire going. Highly flammable material is mixed together so that when it catches fire, it burns easily and therefore the fire spreads to your kindling. Though you can buy inexpensive fire starters in most stores that sell fireplace supplies, making your own is easy and often times free. Though, beware a bargain.
Not all fire starters are safe for indoors. Be mindful of the materials you use for your fire starter as well as what goes in the firebox in general. Some otherwise harmless materials emit toxins when burning and can pose a serious health risk in an enclosed area. For outdoor fire starters and some ideas that might work indoors, check out our blog 4 DIY Fire Starters for the Fire Pit.
Using gas log lighters to help your wood burning fireplace is something we’ve spent a lot of time covering here at Fireplace Doors Online. It can often be confusing: your fireplace is still a wood burning fireplace, you just get a little help from natural gas or liquid propane. Once it is installed, the process is fairly simple for getting it going and giving your fire a boost to get started.
There are pros and cons to having one, of course, and we go over it in our blog ‘The Pros and Cons of Using a Gas Log Lighter’. Ultimately whether you get one or not depends on what best fits your lifestyle and needs, but for many people it makes it easier and faster to get a fire going. We have an extensive collection of gas log lighters designed for both liquid propane and natural gas and with sizes to fit any firebox.
Properly Seasoned Wood
If getting a fire started has been a problem in the past, the problem may be the wood. Unseasoned wood is more difficult to burn because it’s still full of moisture. You can tell the difference by the weight of the wood and how it looks: seasoned wood weighs less and looks aged whereas unseasoned wood seems green, freshly cut, and is heavier.
Because of the moisture it has a harder time getting started and doesn’t generally get above 300F. It’s important that your fire born between 300 and 500 Fahrenheit so that less creosote builds up in your firebox and chimney.
Seasoning wood at home can take anywhere between six months to a year. That’s because it takes time for all of the moisture in the wood to evaporate, but you can expedite it with a few easy tips.
- More surface area = faster seasoning. In other words, cut it and split it as if you were putting it in your wood burning fireplace tomorrow. That will help it dry faster.
- Exposure to sun. This one is fairly self explanatory. The sun will help evaporate moisture faster.
- Air flow. Stack it so that you can get the maximum airflow between the pieces. This will also help.
If all else fails, you could always build a kiln to dry out your wood. This is pretty extreme, but it’s what many timber companies do when they don’t want to keep cut wood around.
A nice, warm fire is appealing to many of us; there’s something almost comforting about watching glowing, orange flames dance and feeling the warmth radiating from them. But if you can’t get a fire started, you’re left with nothing but longing and disappointment. With the cold season approaching that’s the last thing you want! And, it’s definitely not what we want for you either.
What do you do to get a fire going on chilly days? Let us know on our Facebook page!