Top tips for enjoying the best fire this winter.
- Have your chimney swept annually by a professional before you start using your fireplace or woodburner.
- Wood burns best on a bed of ash so leave a small amount in the grate when cleaning the fire out.
- Build the base of the your fire using a couple of natural firelighters (such as wood wool dipped in beeswax) or several ‘knots’ of newspaper and then a handful of kindling arranged tent-style on top.
- Once the paper is lit and the kindling has taken, place a few small logs on top being careful not to squash the base. Use split logs rather than round for starting a fire as they catch easier. Oxygen is key here – especially with woodburners – so ensure a good flow of air during the lighting process.
- KEY TIP: Always use well seasoned or kiln dried hardwood logs on your fire or in your woodburner. Wet or fresh logs will hiss and smoke, cause dangerous creosote build up in the chimney and blacken woodburner glass. Unlike dry logs they will not achieve what’s known as the ‘secondary burn’. The primary burn is when wood is set alight and starts to burn. When dry wood reaches a certain temperature flammable gases are released which is the ‘secondary burn’, increasing the log’s heat output and giving a clean, efficient, fire.
- Never leave an open fire unattended, especially overnight. Make sure the fire is completely out, spread the embers and cover with a guard.
- Keep Christmas decorations (and the tree!) well away and never hang directly over a fire or woodburner. They can get caught in hot air updraughts, come unstuck and catch alight.