How to Start Your Fireplace Safely
Whether you live near Lakes Erie or Ontario, the freezing weather in the Greater Buffalo-Rochester region has folks out shopping for firewood to burn in their fireplace or heating stove. However, novices and seasoned homeowners often need help lighting wood logs. So, if you want a trouble-free fire-burning experience that will impress your shivering family, pets, and guests, here’s how to build and start a fire in your fireplace:
Chimney Inspection and Cleaning
With winter arriving early this season, it may be tempting to get that fireplace cranking out the heat as soon as possible. However, before lighting the fireplace, call Felgemacher at (716) 907-4914 or (585) 308-4914 to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. Creosote deposits remaining in the flue from last winter are highly flammable. A spark from a hot ember can start a chimney fire that can quickly engulf your home in smoke and flames. In fact, failing to clean the chimney properly is the number one cause of winter house fires.
Clean the Firebox
While waiting for the certified chimney professional to arrive, it’s an excellent time to clean the firebox. After removing the grate, sweep the ashes into a metal container. Then, vacuum any remaining debris.
You can also mix dish soap and water to wipe down the firebox walls, removing stains on the bricks. Dry with a lint-free cloth. You can also pick up fireplace cleaning supplies at our fireplace shop in Cheektowaga, NY. Remember to clean the grate too! After the firebox is spick and span, you can put the grate back in the fireplace.
Open the Fireplace Damper
The fireplace damper is one of the many parts checked during a chimney inspection. This is vital because it must open and close properly for a safe and efficient fire-burning experience. When the chimney sweep gives you the all-clear, it’s safe to start a fire in your fireplace. The next step is to open the damper completely.
Warm a Cold Flue
Now that your damper is open and the air is coming into the fireplace, you will need to warm the flue. Starting a fire in a cold chimney can be dangerous because the high pressure of the cold air can cause back puffing where smoke fills up in your home. You can even get burned by a hot ember. So, grab a tightly rolled newspaper, light one end, and hold it under the flue. You are ready to build your fire when you feel the draft reverse, and smoke is going up the flue.
Building a Fire in Your Fireplace (step-by-step)
There are several ways to build a fire, but we’ll show you the log cabin method. It’s the simplest and most effective method for starting a warm and cozy fire. Basically, we’re going to build a stack of logs in an alternating perpendicular pattern.
1. Start with the two smallest logs on the bottom of the grate, several inches apart, so they are parallel to the firebox.
2. Fill the space between the logs with your kindling.
3. Stack two medium size logs on top perpendicular (90° angle) to the logs on the bottom.
4. Build a third layer of larger logs perpendicular to the second layer.
5. Use a long matchstick or fireplace lighter to light the kindling.
6. Relax with a cup of hot cocoa, marshmallows, or your favorite beverage, and enjoy your warm and cozy fireplace.
Safety Tip: Never use an accelerant like lighter fluid in a fireplace. It can cause an explosion.
Buffalo Chimney Inspection & Cleaning Services
Are you getting ready to start your first fire of the season? Call Felgemacher Masonry and Chimney at (716) 907-4914 or (585) 308-4914 to schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning. You can also contact us online. We’ll also give you some handy tips on maintaining a safe and efficient fire in the fireplace.