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Why Your Wood Burning Fireplace Won’t Stay Lit

wood burning fireplace in fort collins coHave you ever tried but were unable to keep the fire in your fireplace going? Or perhaps you couldn’t get the fire started in the first place. This is actually a common situation, and there are solutions. Once you identify what exactly needs to be addressed, in many cases, you should have a fire blazing in no time. The following tips can help.

Use Seasoned Firewood

If your firewood is smoking but not getting fired up, it could be because the firewood isn’t seasoned. Not all firewood is ready for the fireplace. When wood is fresh cut, it’s brimming with moisture. In the right setting, it generally takes between six months and a year for wood to sufficiently dry out to be suitable for use as firewood. When the wood has too much internal or external moisture, smoking occurs.

Solutions: Use seasoned firewood, if you have access to some. If only green wood is available, try a different approach. Place unlit logs to the sides of the grate. Place a sawdust and composite wax fire log on the grate and light it, but never add this type of artificial log to an existing wood-burning fire. It could be that your firewood is seasoned but has gotten too cold outside. To solve this issue, bring your firewood in the house in anticipation of using it, so that the logs can warm to room temperature by the time you’re ready to burn them.

Use Tinder

Sometimes lighting a fire is difficult, especially when you don’t have the right ingredients for fire-starting. The difficulty with lighting your fire could be a lack of tinder. This is the component of fire-building that gets flames going.

Solution: Use newspaper, dryer lint, or small twigs for tinder. Kindling catches fire next, which is large sticks or thin pieces of split seasoned firewood. Remember that air is also needed to get a fire going. Also, please note: Never use flammable liquids to create combustion in your fireplace.

Open the Damper

boulder county co wood burning fireplacesIf you are lighting a fire and smoke begins pouring into your home, it could be because the damper is either unopened or partially opened. Without an open damper and an unobstructed flue, combustion byproducts can’t exit through the chimney as they’re supposed to.

Solution: Open the damper all the way. If it won’t fully open, repair as needed. Contact a chimney sweep, if it seems there may be other obstructions preventing the chimney from working properly.


Warm the Flue Air

If your chimney is on an exterior wall and your fire won’t start, it could be because there is a cold column of air inside the chimney flue. When this occurs, the warm air is prevented from escaping through the chimney.

Solutions: What is needed is for your chimney to be “pre-heated.” There are different approaches for achieving this. One is to use a hair dryer. Plug the hair dryer in and aim the hot air upward inside the chimney flue for at least 10 seconds. The traditional strategy is to create a newspaper torch, light it, and hold it up toward the damper, careful to drop the torch before burning yourself. It can require more time than 10 seconds with the hair dryer or more than one torch, if you use lit newspaper. Either way, your heated flue could make all the difference in being able to get your fire started.

Contact us at FyrePro for a new fireplace or wood stove or for chimney services such as installing chimney liners and chimney caps. Our experts will be happy to answer questions, as well, to help ensure that you can keep the warming fires burning in winter.