How to use a wood burning fireplace properly ?
A fireplace is not just of ornamental value but an essential ingredient in cold terrain. It is a cozy addition to your home with the potential to increase your asset’s net worth. To get the most out of your wooden fireplace, you should know the proper handling and maintenance of the fireplace. This way you can ensure a lower energy consumption and long life and ensure safety.
Proper selection of wood and their right placement in the grate are crucial for generating adequate fire and heat. But before that one has to look at the chimney damper. The chimney is meant for the escape of smoke from the fireplace so that the smoke build up does not circulate inside the room, causing discomfort. At the same time, it should allow for only smoke to escape and not heat. The chimney damper should be opened before each use and closed after use. Keeping the damper closed after use, prevents warm air from escaping.
Use of unseasoned wood (freshly cut wood or wood that is not dry enough) will lead to generation of too much of smoke and less heat. For proper burning, wood should be seasoned for atleast six months. Pine is not an ideal wood for fireplace as it causes creosote buildup and prone to chimney fires. While selecting wood a right combination of hard and soft woods have to chosen and placed in the grate.
The bottom of the fireplace grate should be stacked with softwood so that it can burn fast generating enough heat to ignite the hardwood on top. Starter logs are available to start the fire and these should be place underneath the grate. Fire starter logs can be ignited with a lighter or match stick. The sequence of burning will be from starter logs to softwood to hardwood. Hardwoods tend to burn longer and give out heat for consistently longer duration. Giving proper air circulation enables generating more heat out of small fire.
Once the hardwoods start to burn, you can add hardwood logs at regular intervals depending upon how long you want the fire to be ON. As wood burns, they are covered with grey ash and turn into coal. Stirring the coal under the grate can keep them lit. Ashes prevent the coals from being lit and can be utilized to put the fire out.
To put out the fire completely, cover the coal with ashes and remove the coal and discard them safely. Close the chimney damper and place a fireplace shield to prevent the warm air escaping through the chimney.
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