Our Durham Chimney Contractor Explains How to Start a Fire in a Cold Fireplace

November 12, 2019

When the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing more relaxing than a warm, cozy fire. Unfortunately, sometimes that cold winter air can make it difficult to start that fire. In today’s blog post, our Apex chimney contractors will share some tips on what to do if you’re struggling to get a fire going.

Warm Up the Flue

When starting a fire in your fireplace, the first thing you should do is open up the damper. This will allow all of the smoke, gases, and other combustion byproducts to exit the chimney. Unfortunately, when you do this, a rush of cold air will come down into the fireplace from the chimney, forcing smoke back into your home and making it difficult to light a fire. To counteract this invasion of cold air, you will have to prime the flue by lighting the end of a rolled-up newspaper and inserting it inside the chimney just above the opened damper. After a few minutes, you should be able to feel the draft begin to reverse. This will let you know you are ready to light your fire.

Leave an Inch Of Ashes In Your Firebox

One common issue we see with chimney owners is that they are too dedicated to keeping the firebox clean and clear of ashes. While it’s never a good idea to let ashes build up to the point that they become a fire hazard, you should still keep an inch or so in the firebox. The ashes will insulate the fires you build and help them burn hotter and brighter.

Use The Top-Down Burn Technique

According to The Chimney Safety Institute of America, the most effective and safe way to build a fire is starting with the largest pieces of firewood on the bottom, and stacking layers of smaller logs on top. Add the lightest kindling at the peak, and light it with a rolled-up newspaper, long match, or fireplace lighter. Also known as an “upside down burn,” this type of fire burns cleaner and brighter, because the smoke does not have to pass through the cold logs. The logs won’t fall as much, either, meaning you will not have to do as much work!

Need a Chimney Inspection in Apex NC?

Don’t let a dirty fireplace keep you from enjoying a cozy, warm fire this winter. Contact Nexus Chimney Services today for all of your chimney and fireplace maintenance, repair, and installation needs. We will help keep your chimney system running safe, affordably, and effectively all season long! To schedule a free estimate, click here.