Avoid any meeting of the minds during the holidays as you build a fire in a fireplace by getting it started right away. While each person has their own secret methods for building the perfect fire that will start easily and burn for hours, there are a few best practices you can follow to burn wood most efficiently.
Maintenance of your Wood Heater- It is essential that your wood heater is cleaned particularly the flu that draws the smoke away from the fire.
There are various methods for building the perfect fire. There is good evidence that suggests you should actually build your fires from the top down, layering smaller pieces on top of a base made of larger logs. This way, the fire grows hotter and hotter and it gradually works its way down to consuming the larger pieces of wood, and you’re left with a hot base of large logs on which you can stack new wood.
The basic method goes like this, The largest pieces of wood go on the bottom, laid in parallel and close together. Smaller pieces are placed in a second layer, also with close spacing, cross ways to the first. A third layer of still smaller pieces is laid cross ways to the second, this time with some spaces between. A fourth layer of loose, small kindling and twisted newspaper sheets tops off the pile
A single newspaper twist is lighted, instantly creating a hot fire at the top of the pile. The rest of the newspaper and fine kindling quickly ignite, turning the whole top layer into a hot, smokeless fire. As the fire spreads downward, each successive layer sends its gases streaming upward through flames that consume them before they can reach the flue. Within 10 minutes, the fire is completely ablaze – and the fire tending chores are done for at least a couple of hours. When it’s time to refuel, fresh wood can be laid on a wide, even bed of glowing coals, hot enough to make it burst almost instantly into a new, smokeless fire.
The “tepee” method involves leaning logs against one another over a smaller stack of kindling in the bottom. Built from the bottom up, starting with twists of paper, firelighter sticks or other material that can be lighted with a match. Small sticks or finely split kindling is laid on top of the starter (Softwood Kindling), larger sticks on top of that (Hardwood Kindling) , and so on up to the biggest pieces on top. Unless they are built perfectly, such fires tend to struggle along through relighting, the piling on of more paper or kindling, and so forth.
But even if everything goes right, a fire built this way inevitably creates start-up smoke as wood above the initial flames is heated to the combustion point and then begins to burn, slowly, releasing the gases, tar droplets and water vapour that form a smoky plume which streams up the flue and out the chimney. This continues until the fire reaches the stage of high, bright flames that consume virtually all of the smoke components before they can escape.
Lots of things can go wrong, of course, and many fires never reach that happy stage. Wood that has been seasoned insufficiently, or dampened by snow and rain, may keep smoking until it’s charcoal. Even good wood can be arranged so a fire never reaches full potential and, worse, requires constant rearranging as partly burned pieces collapse or roll away. Opening the stove or fireplace doors to lay more wood on a high, hot fire of half-burned logs is an unpleasant chore and usually renews smoke production.
Maybe you can provide your guests with these tips when you next rent your property.