A crackling fire not only delivers cozy ambience during the cool winter months, it can help offset your heating bill, too. Fire-starting basics are a must—like what you can and can’t safely burn, and what supplies are the best to keep on hand.
How to Use a Fireplace: Getting Started
If you are using an indoor fireplace, you should have the chimney swept by a pro before winter arrives. If you are using an electric or tabletop fireplace, a good cleaning and test run are all you’ll need to be fully prepared to enjoy the glow of a fire during the colder months.
How to Build a Fire in a Fireplace: Choosing Wood
You may already have a wood pile in place, but if not, you should stock up on a supply that will last through winter. Even if you are not using the fireplace as a source of heat, having a stockpile of wood at the ready is always a good idea.
Oak, pine, and other slow-burning woods are good choices for your fireplace. A selection of larger logs, medium-size cuts, and smaller branches will give you the most variety and options for your fire. A downed tree is an excellent source of wood for your fire, too.
Preparing Wood for your Indoor Fireplace
The Smart Splitter wood splitting tool takes a lot of the risk out of chopping wood. It also makes consistently-sized pieces, too. Traditional methods require strength and brute force, but this splitter uses leverage and balance to get the job done. A durable and lightweight folding canvas wheelbarrow makes it easy to transport those heavy loads when you’re done.
Once you’ve got a pile ready, stack it in a sheltered spot to dry. It should take around a season to do and once it is done, you’ll get the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve created the fuel that will warm and delight your family all winter long.
How to Build a Fire in a Fireplace
Remove any debris left behind from a previous fire and check to make sure the damper is open and ready to use. Add smaller pieces of kindling fist, then use safety matches to spark the fire. Start small and make sure any smoke is being drawn up the fireplace. As the fire burns, you can start adding larger pieces. The amount you add will depend on how long you want the fire to burn. Use a fire optimizer to ensure your fire burns evenly and to make clean up easier.
Safety matches should be stored in a glass or fire-safe container. The right container of safety matches also makes a charming and useful home accent. If you prefer an even more convenient startup, use a ready to light kit that includes everything you need to effectively light a fire in your indoor fireplace in one charming vintage-style container.
What to Avoid
Lots of things will burn, but some are just not safe to use in an indoor or tabletop fireplace. Avoid burning treated wood or wood with a painted or stained finish, or magazines and paper with colorful printing. Plywood, plastic, and chemicals are also no-go’s for your fireplace, as they can burn unpredictably.
Indoor Fireplace Alternatives
These indoor alternatives prove just about any space can enjoy the ambiance and cozy atmosphere created by a flickering fire. Consider adding a wall mount electric fireplace that adds drama and involves very little set up. Don’t overlook tabletop models, like this electric tabletop fireplace or a tabletop firepit that runs on rubbing alcohol. They both add plenty of warm glow without a large or permanent commitment.
Get the Most from your Indoor Fireplace
Take the time to learn more about using a fireplace to help decided which will work best in your space. Then you can set about creating cozy, comfortable atmosphere that keeps the chill at bay.