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A wood fireplace might seem simple, chuck some logs on the fire , light it up and away you go.  But of course looks can often be deceiving.   If you’re just getting to grips with your wood fireplace and would like a little confidence boost using it, we’re here to help.

Here are some common things people should know as a first time wood fireplace owner:


Small amounts of smoke is normal

Don’t panic if you start seeing smoke coming form your wood fireplace, so long as it’s not dense black smoke or a large plume this is normal.  A light odor free smoke coming from your chimney is a sign of a healthy wood fireplace.


Know your wood

The type of wood you burn makes a big difference to your fireplace’s efficiency and how long it will heat for.

  • Soft wood is cheaper but does not last as long, most people tend to use it early or late in winter.   Soft wood also produces a cleaner, less intense heat and is easier to light.  Common types of softwood include: Cedar, red pine, fir, poplar and spruce.
  • Hard wood produces more heat and burns for longer. Common types of hardwood include: Birch, Beech, Oak and Elm.


Burn for longer with seasoned wood

You should always heat with seasoned wood for best results; you could get up to 4x as much heating time as wood that’s not seasoned.  The process of seasoning wood is designed to dry it out, and remove moisture which can make it difficult to light.

It generally takes 6 months to season wood, you can do this yourself but you must have a well protected storage location, free from any weather and well ventilated to allow air to circulate.  The wood must be cut and kept clean for the duration of storage.

Some people prefer to use bio bricks which are specially manufactured from condensed sawdust and shavings into compact bricks which are more efficient at burning.


Fire needs oxygen

Oxygen is essential for fires to sustain themselves.  When it’s cold, oxygen doesn’t mix as well with un-lighted wood which can make it harder to get your fire going.  In this instance you’ll want to blow air to help introduce more oxygen to fuel the fire more efficiently.


Light from the top

Conventional wisdom says that heat rises, and so you might think to light your fire from the bottom.  Modern wood fireplaces work a little differently and are designed to burn from the top down.  The reason for this is that it helps the wood to last longer, and the gasses work better.


If you have any further questions about burning with wood, don’t hesitate to come by to our store on Whitney Avenue, Hamden.  Our staff are very knowledgeable and are always happy to answer questions from customers.

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