Clean Sweep Chimney Service was founded in 1977, and is the recipient of several industry awards. - Call us today! 636-477-9966
Clean Sweep Chimney Service

4004 Emerald Drive
St. Charles, MO 63304

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How to build a great fire


Most everyone has their special way or secret to building the perfect fire, but this is still our most asked question.

First and most important open the damper, while I prefer to do this just before lighting up it's a recipe for disaster if you forget.

Make sure that your grate has room for air flow under the grate and a small bed of ash is good, just not too much. Put some crumpled newspaper (only black and white) under or on top of the grate in tight balls. The amount depends on the size of the grate.

Set your kindling, the more the better placed in a crisscross pattern and be sure to leave some air spaces. Smaller and very dry pieces are better. This will make starting the wood much easier. You can forgo the kindling if you're using a fire starter of some sort, but we still use the newspaper to light the starters.

Set larger pieces of wood on the kindling. Continue setting smaller pieces of wood crisscrossed until you have the desired height. Usually in most open fireplaces you will only have three stacks at best. An alternative method would be to set one front log length wise on the grate and set the balance of the wood upright or standing up against the back wall. This method will provide you with more heat, but wood can have a tendency to fall out of smaller fireplaces as it burns.

Next open the damper and take a sheet of newspaper (again black and white) and twist an end to make a fan. Light the larger end and hold it up as close to the damper as you can and repeat as necessary until the smoke is sucked upward. This will help establish the draft and can save you from a smoky start up.

Last light the newspaper on the floor or grate, close the screen, sit back and enjoy.

Adding more wood before the fire burns too low will help you keep an efficient fire going, reduce creosote build up, and cut down on pollution.