Wood-burning Fireplace Questions Answered

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Fireplaces have always been a sought-after feature for home buyers, but understanding how to use one can be intimidating. Here’s some quick tips to get you and your fire started.

1. Have Your Chimney Inspected

Safety is your first priority when it comes to fire. You should have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a licensed professional. Do this every year, before you the start the first fire of the season.

2. Preparing Your Fireplace

Make sure you clean out all the old ashes (make sure they’re cooled off). Check the damper, make sure it is open and working properly.

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3. Preparing the Wood to Start a Fire

You should use seasoned hardwood that has already been split and dried for at least six months. Seasoned hardwood logs should be dark and cracked at the ends. Also, the logs should make a hollow sound when you knock them together. To create a long-lasting fire, start by placing a rolled-up ball of newspaper beneath the grates. Then lay down the pieces of split wood in a crisscross pattern over the grates. Then securely rest the dry logs over the kindling.

4. Priming the Flue

Priming the flue will heat up the cold air inside the flue to avoid a backup of smoke. Before you light the fire, you should light a rolled-up piece of newspaper, and hold it toward the open damper. Keep the lit newspaper there until you see the smoke going up the flue.

5. Light the Fire

Now you’re finally ready to light your fire. If the fire starts to go out, you can carefully fan the flames with folded newspaper or use a poker to get the air flowing again. Add logs to the fire to provide more fuel. When the fire is out for the night, remember to close the fireplace doors before you go to bed.

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