Start a Fireplace
Edited by Emmanuel M. Lardizabal, Eng, Rebecca M., Lynn and 2 others
Does the crackling sound of fire evoke the thought of home to you? Is sitting by a fireplace providing you warmth, comfort, and serenity? If yes, you're among the 77% of home buyers who said they want to grace their home with a fireplace.
Having a fireplace inside the house has been a practice dating back from the middle ages, when people living in medieval castles and homes lit the hearth for warmth. Today, fireplaces are desired not only as a primary source of heat, but also for aesthetics, luxury and even as a way of reducing electricity bill. Regardless of your reason for having a fireplace at home, sitting by the warm structure remains to be one of life's simple pleasures especially during Christmas season when air gets colder. More than ever, this is the time to learn the method of starting a fire in the fireplace correctly.
- Wood. dry seasoned hardwood
- Kindling. small pieces of wood, sticks, or branches for igniting.
- Igniter. an implement such as lighter or match to be used in lighting the logs.
- Paper. use only newspaper and any kind of paper without coating or no applied materials like glue or paint on it.
- Broom and Dust Pan. these are to be used in cleaning and collecting the dust in the fireplace.
The Ideal Type of Wood to Use as Firewood
Dry seasoned hardwoods such as hickory, ash, oak, and hard maple are the best wood species to burn. While soft woods such as pine and spruce will burn, they don't provide as much heat. Avoid using green unseasoned woods because besides having low burning efficiency, they will only deposit creosote along the linings of the chimney. It takes at least six months to a year for wood to completely dry to reach the 20% moisture level to produce a good fire. To determine if the wood is seasoned, listen for a hollow sound when two logs are knocked together. Seasoned wood also appears darker and cracked.
Steps in starting a fire
- 8Position the logs over the crumpled paper and kindling, laying them on top of each other, starting from right to left to form a pyramid.
- 9Set the crumpled paper on fire by lighting in several locations.
- 11When the wood begins to ignite, check the smoke.
- black smoke means the fire needs oxygen. Poke the stack of wood to create gaps for air to travel around the logs.
- grey smoke indicates incomplete combustion caused by either wet wood or over supply of oxygen into the fire.
- reduced smoke is a good sign that the perfect condition for combustion has been achieved.
- 14Wash your hands.
Potential Dangers in the Use of Fireplace
in spite of the good purposes that a fireplace and chimneys are constructed for, they have been attributed to more than 25,000 house fires occurring every year, with at least 10 reported cases of fatalities. Some of the dangers directly associated with fireplace operation are:
- 1Popping sparks that ignite rugs or furniture to fire
- 2Combustible materials set too near the fire
- 3Presence of carbon monoxide in the house
- 4Toxic particles produced in the smoke # Build-up of pressure to cause fire in the chimney
Safety and Maintenance Practices
- 3Do not place combustible materials near the fireplace.
Tips, tricks and warning
- Use a medical mask while cleaning the chimney.
- Do not use wet or decaying wood for the fireplace.
- Do not use cardboard and chipboard as kindling.
- Do not use treated or painted wood in the fireplace as these will produce harmful toxic fumes.
- Don't pour gas or kerosene to start a fire in the fireplace.
- Leave a few inches of ash below the grate to serve as coal bed for radiating heat.
- Stop adding wood to the fire about 2-3 hours before leaving off. That will be enough time for the fire to die down.
- As the fire dies down, gradually close the damper to maintain a draft and to control the entry of cold air. Wait until the fire is completely extinguished before closing the damper.
- Make sure the fireplace screen or door is closed before you retire to bed.
If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.
Recent edits by: Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Rebecca M.