Rambling On How To Fire Up Your Stove.

March 10, 2015

One of the most common problems people face after buying their new wood burning stove is how to light it properly?

It may seem obvious to us old timers but for a lot of people out there, it may well be your first experience of lighting a fire. You may come from the generation where constant central heating was the norm and people stopped using their fireplaces, sometimes bricking them up or fitting them with gas flame effect fires or electric heaters. Personally,I’m from the generation before and remember the ritual of bedding down the fire for the night with a shovelful of slack and then stoking it up again in the morning. Letting the fire die was a pain as it required starting the whole process again: twisting paper sticks out of newspaper, rooting out the smaller pieces of coal and any warm embers, slowly getting things going again, nursing things along with a puff from the bellows. Of course, we weren’t so concerned about finding renewable sources of energy back then and coal was the norm for most people. Dublin used to be overshadowed by a thick black cloud of smog most winter evenings.

Environmentally Friendly Heating?

Nowadays almost everyone is aware of how important it is to switch to more environmentally friendly ways of heating our homes. But happily this does not involve any loss of comfort or money; quite the opposite in fact, if you’ve just bought yourself a new wood-burning stove, you are probably discovering what a pleasure it is. Stoves advanced so much that they are easily 3 times more efficient than open fires. Simply sitting around a blazing wood stove can prove a most enjoyable way to pass a cold evening. But what if you are one of those who have no previous experience of lighting fires?

Let the steps and hints below be your guide to successfully managing your wood fire.

Firstly, lighting the fire is simple so long as a few basic rules are followed:

  1. The primary and most important rule is to use dry wood: preferably kiln-dried. Forget those bags of logs in netting on sale for €4.99 at your local petrol station – they’re most likely wet pine and will smoulder and smoke but never catch light properly.
  2. Select around 3 smallish logs and form into a V or U shape wall with the opening out front. Build a little nest inside the walls using some dry kindling stacked over a burning firelighter. If you use our Kiln-Dried kindling you will only need the tiniest chunk to get the kindling going
  3. Leave the air vents open on your stove until the fire is fully burning. Likewise, leave the door of your stove slightly open until the fire is established.
  4. Once the kindling is burning nicely start to add in some small logs, preferably ones where the bark is coming free (like our Ash logs) as these catch light quickly.
  5. Good airflow is essential so don’t overload with too many logs; leave gaps between them so the flames can spread. Build the fire slowly. If it looks like it’s faltering add in more kindling and nurse it better. After about ten minutes your log fire should be burning nicely with your surrounding V or U shaped wall also starting to burn well. Close the stove door and sit back and enjoy.
  6. Once it’s flaming nicely, close the door and the use the air vents to regulate the fire.
  7. Never buy wood by weight, as this can mean that you are paying for water. Always buy logs by volume.

Try not to poke a wood fire too much

A last thought on perfect fires is not to poke a wood fire too much. The burning coal fire needs to be opened up with a poker from time to time. This gets air into the embers and breaks up any clinker that is forming. But the wood fire is more of a thoroughbred and, much as it is fun to give the fire a good poke and watch the sparks fly upwards, the fire doesn’t like it!

So, to make your perfect fire – choose dry wood, use an ash bed and place the fresh Kiln Dried logs in carefully. Good luck.

Secrets To Starting Your Fire

Like all Good Recipes- the main thing is to use the best ingredients. With our Kiln Dried you are guaranteed the logs will be dry.

For more on Lighting Fires check out The Wood Fire Handbook by Vincent Thurkettle