How To Start A Fireplace Fire
What’s more pleasant during cold winter than snuggling up to your gal in front of a romantic fireplace? The only thing is that someone’s gonna have to get that fire started. And you can’t expect your partner to do it.
Starting a fireplace fire and keep it roaring is a man’s job. You’ll have to show her you can provide a warm, cozy shelter even if you’ve never started another fire in your life.
If you’re a starter, check out this guide to learn how to start a fireplace fire and keep it roaring quickly and easily.
1. Clean Your Chimney
If you’ve ever watched rom-coms, you know that starting a fireplace fire means throwing a bunch of logs into the fireplace, light up a match, and throw it into the fireplace too. In real life, though, things are not that simple.
Unless you want to fill the room with smoke, you must ensure that the chimney is nice and clean.
There are special brushes you can use to swipe the chimney and make sure it’s clean of dust and debris. Ideally, you should do this in late fall, but if you’re not starting a fireplace fire at your home – maybe you’re at a cabin up in the mountains – check if the chimney is clean before even attempting to light a log.
2. Make Sure The Damper Is Open
An essential step if you don’t want your manliness to be laughed at while building a fire. The damper sucks up all the smoke from the fireplace, so you can enjoy the glowing fire without feeling like a strip of beef jerky sitting quietly in a fancy smoker.
3. Prime The Flue
Priming the flue might seem unnecessary, but it’s particularly important, especially when the chimney is built on the outside of the house.
During this process, you’re warming up the cold air inside the chimney, allowing the smoke-filled, warm air to get out of your home.
To prime the flue, roll a newspaper and light it up. Hold it up the damper opening for a few minutes, until you feel the draft reversed. At this stage, you’re ready to start the fire.
4. Gather The Necessary Materials
Logs are not enough to start a fireplace fire. You need quite a few materials to be successful in this enterprise.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet you can use:
- Newspapers – the classic kind, without colors or glossy paper
- Dry wood – burning a whole log might look romantic, but splitting it into smaller pieces with a log splitter allows for a simpler arrangement inside the fireplace
- Kindling – small twigs and branches, other dry vegetation
- Matches or a lighter
5. Clean The Fireplace
You can ignore this step if this is the season’s first fireplace light-up, but if it’s not, it is essential to get rid of that pile of ash sitting in the middle of the burning chamber.
All you need is a stiff brush and a pan to swipe away all the remains from the previous fires.
Don’t throw the ash at this stage, as you’ll need some of it for the next step; however, make sure the fireplace is completely clean before starting.
6. Build An Ash Bed
A 2-inch thick ash bed can insulate the fireplace and create hotter fires. So, use some of the ash you just swiped away to make a layer of ash in your fireplace heart.
If this is the season’s first fireplace fire, use some of the ash from your camping grill and place it in the fireplace to build the ash bed. Just remember that it has to be a small ash bed, as too much of this stuff can be bad for maintaining your fire.
7. Start Your Fire
There are truly many ways to build a fire, and none is wrong. However, if you’re looking to build a fire that burns for hours, the upside-down fire lay is the best method you can use.
The upside-down fire is just what it sounds like; it has the order of the layers reversed, except for the ash.
So, you should start off by placing the fire grate right on top of the ash. Lay down the largest logs and arrange them in any pattern you like. A criss-cross pattern is perhaps the most popular, but you could arrange the logs in a standard bonfire arrangement if you wish to do so.
Now, stack smaller logs on top of the bigger ones, add a layer of kindling (you could include any dry vegetation at this stage) on the top of the stack and sprinkle an abundant layer of tinder on top of everything.
At this stage, the newspapers come into play. Make some loose balls from a few sheets of newspaper and place them over the pile in your fireplace. Sprinkle other tinder on top.
Roll another newspaper sheet and light it up. Use it to light up the top layer of the pile, then just let the magic happen. In a few minutes, you’ll enjoy one of the best fireplace fires you’ve ever started.
This arrangement has two main benefits. On the one hand, the smoke doesn’t have to pass through layers of logs, so the fire will burn cleaner. On the other hand, you won’t have to struggle too much to keep it roaring, as the top layers will slowly light up the lower ones without intervention from your side.
And now that you know how to start a fireplace fire and keep it roaring, what are you waiting for? Put on the kettle, start up the fire, and get ready to unwind in your man chair while admiring the glowing flames.