Burn, baby, burn!

It may be an archaic way of keeping warm, but few things are as satisfying as snuggling up to a warm, cozy fire. Unfortunately, a lot of warm air escapes the home through the chimney, and some wood isn’t all that great at burning or even generating heat. Whether you want to keep warm or simply enjoy a little atmosphere, it’s beneficial to know a few things about making the most of a roaring fire.

1. Get seasoned wood, and prepare it properly. 

Split your wood into pieces that are not more than 6 inches in diameter. Stack them split-side down for air flow. Cover the top layer with a tarp to keep out rain or snow, then store. 

If you don’t want to prepare your own wood, shop locally and ask only for dry, seasoned wood.

2. Learn the proper way to start a fire! 

Start with a small fire with just a few pieces of wood and dry kindling. Open the damper as wide as possible to let in air flow. Let the now-roaring fire heat up the rest of the chimney, then add some more wood. Keep the fire bright by allowing space between fire wood.

3. Use a ceiling fan running counter-clockwise. 

This brings warm air from your fire down from the ceiling–and onto you! Find out how to install a ceiling fan here.

4. Clean your chimney once a year.

Creosote can build up in the chimney to restrict air flow. This can cause a fire hazard, so be careful and keep things clean!

5. Get the low-down on firebacks.

Firebacks are known for reflecting heat back into the room, but it’s good to note that these days they are more for decoration than heat reflection. A fireback can help keep you a little bit warmer, but don’t expect much. You may still want to install one, though, as they can protect the masonry behind your fire.

6. Install a grate heater or blowers.

These devices will suck up the cold air in your room and throw warm air out, keeping your fire more energy efficient. While you should always keep combustibles and easily-burned goods away from a fire, be extra careful of flammable objects when using a grate heater.

7. Avoid fumes.

You can check the quality of your air each day. Only light a fire when the air is most healthy for breathing.

Never burn wood that has been painted, or anything with inks such as pages from magazines, as these will release harmful fumes that should not be breathed.

8. Invest in some glass doors.

Glass doors are expensive, but will make your fire much more efficient. Glass doors form a barrier between your room and your fire, and can serve as protection from the fire for children or pets