How to Light your Fire

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 Lighting your Solid Fuel Fire

  1. Paper should not be used for lighting a fire.  Chemicals and the print ink present can become sticky and settle in the chimney, flue and liner. Soot, dust and debris particles can stick and start to form restrictions.
  2. If burning wood, a bed of ash will always help. Wood relies on oxygen from above to produce an efficient burn, the ash prevents drafts from below. Coal on the other hand needs oxygen entering from underneath, so a clear and clean fire place is essential.
  3. Coal and wood should never be burnt simultaneously. As the coal burns, the gasses released engulf the wood restricting oxygen and intern stopping an efficient burning of the wood. The danger of this is the much higher production of CO gasses through incomplete combustion.

How to Light a Fire Step by Step...

  1. In a clean fire box, start with kiln dried kindling. Lay out three pieces of kindling, leaving slight air gaps in-between, place a fire lighter in the middle, then continue building a kindling tower, two one way, then two the other.
  2. Slightly larger pieces of kiln dried wood can be added once the kindling starts to burn. The door of the appliance can be left ajar to give a good fanning of oxygen, promoting a turbulent burn. Allowing a few minutes for each stage of the fire to reach an efficient burn, the size of kiln dried logs can be increased in size. After a short time a few decent sized logs can be placed onto the fire, always leaving gaps to allow oxygen to flow evenly around each log. Once the full sized logs are burning, the appliance doors can be shut and the air vents adjusted to produce flames that lick around the logs.                                                                                             
  3. Using kiln dried wood, with a moisture level of around 21%, will light easily, produce a clean fire without alot of smoke, will produce a high heat output, therefore heating the flue, liner or chimney quickly, which in turn will produce an efficient draft effect to evacuate any smoke and gasses through the chimney system to the safety of the outside. Getting the chimney system up to the efficient draft  temperature as soon as possible , eliminates the possibility of the gasses cooling, the production of creosote forming in the chimney system and restrictions being produced.
  4. The correct amount of fuel should be added to the fire and continually added as needed. Too much in one go will stifle the fire of oxygen, produce a poor burn and can even extinguish itself. On the other hand, too little will burn away without getting up to temperature, the effect will be disappointing and may even require re-lighting. This poor management of the fire will not produce the draft temperature required and can result in creosote deposits forming in the chimney system due to the gasses cooling instead of being evacuated to the outside.  
  5. Keeping all areas of the fire or appliance clean, promotes an efficient  burning and reduces the risk of a chimney fire through the ignition of soot or creosote.
  6. The baffle plate inside the appliance is of great importance. It prevents anything dropping directly into the fire. The baffle plate also causes air turbulence inside the appliance, this projects the heat forwards and stops the heat rising straight up the chimney system. 
  7. Building a fire that gets up to temperature asap will be efficient, pleasant to use and control, self cleaning, as in the glass should stay clean and the production of creosote and soot deposits will be small, which will need less cleaning from your Guild Sweep. This is very easy to achieve through the burning of good quality kiln dried wood or `echo logs`. Your Guild Chimney Sweep will be able to advise on which fuels to burn and even suppliers to approach.
  8. The practice of dampening a solid fuel fire appliance through closing down the vents, as in when retiring for bed, does no more than reduces the oxygen levels inside the fire. This produces an ineffective burn , an incomplete combustion and the much greater risk of producing CO (carbon monoxide) gasses. These gasses have been labelled ` The Silent Death`. These gasses are odorless, tasteless and are very dangerous and deadly.
  9. Vents should never be completely closed and the fire should be allowed to burn efficiently so all gasses exit the building, so reducing any risks.