Tips for Starting a Fire in a Cold Fireplace


When the weather is freezing cold outside, it is the perfect time to enjoy a warm and cozy fire. However, sometimes the cold can make it difficult to start that fire. Most chimneys have an outside wall, so they are affected by cold weather. Cold air can push the smoke back into your home. Consequently, filling the room with smoke and toxic gases. This defeats the whole purpose of relaxing in front of the fireplace. Ace Chimney Sweeps would like to give you a few tips we have found to be very useful during the winter!

Warm up the flue.

Before you start a fire, open up the damper. This is so that all of the smoke, gases, and other byproducts of combustion can exit out of the chimney. When you open the damper, a rush of cold air will come down into the fireplace from the chimney. This makes it hard to light a fire and forces smoke back into your home. To counteract this invasion of cold air, The Art of Manliness recommends priming the flue. You do this by lighting the end of a rolled up newspaper and sticking it up the chimney just above the opened damper. You should actually feel the draft begin to reverse after a few minutes. This will let you know you are ready to light your fire.

Leave an inch of ashes in your firebox for insulation.

Another way to help you light a fire in a cold fireplace? Keep a layer of about an inch of ashes in the floor of your firebox. This insulates your fireplaces to be able to burn hotter fires. If you have never burned a fire in your fireplace, The Art of Manliness suggests using ashes from your outdoor grill. Be careful, however, not to leave too many ashes in your firebox. Too many ashes can cause the grate to wear down prematurely.

Use the top-down burn.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends building fires by starting with the largest pieces of firewood on the bottom. You then stack layers of smaller logs on top and finish with the kindling on the very top. All you have to do is light the fire at the top with a rolled up newspaper, match, or fireplace lighter. Also known as an “upside down burn,” this type of fire burns cleaner. This is because the smoke does not have to pass through the cold logs. You will not have to do as much work, either! The logs will not fall as much as they do in other types of builds.

Don’t let a cold fireplace keep you from lighting a cozy and warm fire. Contact us at Ace Chimney Sweeps for all of your chimney and fireplace maintenance, repair, and installation needs.



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