Ways to Keep Your Fireplace Burning Longer
As Webster, NY, and Western New York weather turns colder, many folks are already lighting their wood-burning fireplace to keep their home warm and comfortable. When the fire burns out after a couple of hours, it’s a mad dash to grab more logs. So, if your fireplace is burning out too quickly for comfort, here are a few safe ways to keep the flames burning longer.
Burn “Seasoned” Firewood, Not Freshly Cut Logs
The key to keeping your fireplace burning longer starts with wood logs. Seasoned hardwoods are dense, dry wood with low moisture content (less than 20%). As a result, these woods burn at hotter temperatures for extended periods with less smoke and creosote. Some of the best hardwoods like ash, cherry, hickory, and maple are available locally in the Buffalo-Rochester area. Some suppliers even offer a hardwood mixture that will fill your home with a fresh scent reminiscent of the upcoming holiday season.
Always Open the Damper First
Starting a fire in the fireplace when the damper is closed is dangerous, causing smoke and carbon monoxide gas to fill your home. Opening the damper allows the chimney to draw in oxygen, providing the draft to fuel the fire and keep it burning longer. So, ensure your damper is open all the way before lighting the fireplace. Also, open any external vents around the fireplace for better airflow. If the damper is stuck or difficult to open, please call Felgemacher Masonry + Chimney to schedule a visit before using the fireplace.
Warm The Flue
It can be challenging to start a fire inside a cold chimney. Just like pre-heating a cold oven allows your food to cook more evenly, warming the flue has a similar effect. It warms the flue, so the fire doesn’t keep burning out. Light the end of the tightly rolled newspaper and hold it under the flue. When you feel the draft reverse, and the smoke is going up the chimney, you are ready to build a fire in the firebox.
Building The Fire
There are two ways to build a fire: traditional or top-down. We’ll cover the top-down approach here because it’s the best way to keep your fireplace burning longer.
Step 1: Gather your large pieces of logs and place them in a horizontal row next to each other
at the bottom of the grate facing forward.
Step 2: Next, set a row of smaller logs in a perpendicular fashion (90° angle) on top of the larger logs.
Step 3: Finally, top it off with kindling, smaller pieces of dry twigs on top of the smaller logs. Add a couple of layers of kindling, crisscrossing each layer. This will let airflow between the kindling so that the logs burn more efficiently and thoroughly. Lay some crumpled-up newspaper on top of the kindling as the Firestarter. Use a long match or log lighter to light the newspaper. Never use an accelerant or lighter fluid to light a fireplace. It could cause an explosion. The only thing left to do is to grab your favorite beverage and enjoy your wood-burning fire. Your fireplace should provide up to 8 to 10 hours of heat.
Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Winter
Is your fireplace safe for the winter? Before you light the season’s first fire, schedule your annual inspection and cleaning to keep your home and family safe. Yes, that includes gas fireplaces too! Residents in the Greater Buffalo or Rochester areas can call (716) 907-4914 or (585) 308-4914 to schedule a chimney inspection today! You can also contact us online.