In today’s post from HotFireDoor, we give you some great tips for the first time you use a fireplace. Take note and you’ll surely save yourself a lot of mistakes and issues that can cause some problems.
The first tip for the first time you use a fireplace: have a good draft
For the fire to be optimal, you’ll need the fireplace draft to be adequate. If this factor fails, not only will it burn poorly, but the smoke will backdraft and enter the interior of the house.
Sometimes the draft is inadequate because the chimney is not tall enough. The solution will be to extend the smoke outlet. In other cases, like when lighting a fireplace that has not been used for a long time, you’ll need to preheat it a bit to prevent backdrafting. One of the tricks for lighting the fireplace and warming it up a bit beforehand is using paper or a firestarter. In the first case, when we see the paper going up the chimney, it means it’s ready.
As a general rule, this doesn’t happen if we regularly use the fireplace. If you see the problem continuing, you should contact a chimney sweep in case there’s an issue.
Second tip: start lighting
Make sure the fireplace draft is open. For a very basic tip, but more than once when using a fireplace for the first time, it’s closed and we don’t know it.
Start using fuel that burns easily. In a wood-burning fireplace, you can use softwood, such as pine chips or needles. Dry pine cones also work very well. Lighting gel is another option, as well as a very clean solution.
Build a pyramid with the fuel, through which air can flow, and light the base. When you see that the flame is significant, gradually add the firewood.
3 – Types of firewood and fuels for the first time you use a fireplace
When using a fireplace for the first time, it is essential to choose the right type of firewood and fuels to ensure efficient and safe combustion. Choosing the appropriate material not only guarantees pleasant warmth but can also reduce the buildup of soot and creosote, decreasing the risk of fires in the fireplace. Below are the main types of firewood and fuels you should consider. For this, we recommend that you read if you want more information on which is the best firewood for fireplaces.
Dry and seasoned firewood
Dry and seasoned firewood is the most recommended option for fireplaces. This type of firewood has been air-dried for at least six months and contains a low moisture content. Dry firewood burns efficiently and produces less soot and creosote compared to wet or green wood.
Hardwoods, such as oak, maple, and ash, are dense and heavy, which means they have high energy content and burn longer than softwoods. They are ideal for fireplaces as they generate a more constant heat.
Softwoods, like pine and spruce, burn faster than hardwoods and can be useful for starting a fire. However, they are not ideal for maintaining a prolonged fire in the fireplace, as they tend to produce more soot and creosote, increasing the risk of chimney fires.
Wood briquettes and pellets
Wood briquettes and pellets are compact and dense fuel options that can be an alternative to traditional firewood. These products are typically made from compressed sawdust and wood chips, giving them high energy efficiency and lower moisture content. However, it is important to make sure that the fireplace is designed for use with briquettes and pellets before using them.
Eco-friendly fuels, such as recycled paper logs and logs made from nutshells and other agricultural waste, can also be used in fireplaces. These fuels have the advantage of being more environmentally friendly by reusing materials that would otherwise be waste.
Fourth tip: beware of excessive heat
One of the most common mistakes when lighting a fireplace for the first time is overstoking the fire, thinking that this will achieve an optimal temperature sooner. However, this can only endanger the integrity of the person lighting the fire, as well as cause damage to the outlet pipe, which would later affect the chimney combustion.
Not to mention that if it is not a brick fireplace made with refractory brick, as in the case of enameled stoves, the materials with which they are made can deteriorate and crack. Even a convection fire can occur, as a nearby material to the fireplace overheats.
Therefore, make sure there is no excessive heat when you light or maintain the fire. This way, you can enjoy a comfortable and pleasant sensation, while also experiencing the satisfaction of lighting your fireplace’s first fire. The rest of the times are much easier.
And the last piece of advice: precautions and recommendations when using a fireplace for the first time
When using a fireplace for the first time, it is essential to take into account certain precautions and recommendations to ensure safety and proper operation of the fireplace. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:
- Inspection and cleaning: Before lighting the fireplace for the first time, make sure it has been inspected and cleaned. This will ensure that the structure and components of the fireplace are in good condition and that there are no obstructions or hazardous residues.
- Proper ventilation: Make sure the fireplace draft is fully open before lighting the fire. This will allow smoke and gases to vent properly, preventing them from accumulating inside your home.
- Safe ignition: When lighting the fire, use appropriate fire starters, such as wood chips or crumpled newspapers, instead of flammable liquids like gasoline or alcohol.
- Use of accessories: Use appropriate accessories, such as tongs, poker, and shovel, to handle and maintain the fire safely. In addition, a fireplace door will prevent sparks and embers from escaping the fireplace and falling on the floor or nearby furniture.
- Do not overload the fireplace: Avoid placing too much fuel in the fireplace, as this can lead to an uncontrollable fire and increase the risk of a fire.
- Constant monitoring: Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, especially if it is your first time doing so. Make sure there is always someone present to watch the fire and put it out if necessary.
- Installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: This is something that very few people do and should be done more often. Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and working properly in your home.
- Properly extinguishing the fire: When you have finished using the fireplace, make sure to put out the fire completely. This may involve waiting for the last bits of fuel to burn and using a shovel to disperse the embers and ashes. Check that there are no remaining lit embers before closing the fireplace draft.