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Tips for Starting a Cold Fireplace

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There are a few reasons your chimney might be cold. Maybe you use the fireplace sparingly or perhaps the chimney is on the exterior of the house. No matter the reason, is exceptionally difficult to start a fire in a cold fireplace, with a cold chimney. This is because the chimney is a large space. When it’s cold, it fills with cold air. This air essentially blocks warm air from rising when you try to light your fire. Now, in turn, causing a smoky fireplace and a weak flame.

Priming Your Chimney

The best way to start a cold fireplace is to first prime the chimney. This is the process of warming the fireplace before lighting your fire. You can use a rolled newspaper, or some other paper you have available to prime the chimney.

First, find the base of the chimney. You can usually feel this with your hand, as it will be filled with cool air. Next, light your roll of paper, and let it burn at the base of the chimney. Once you allow the entire roll of paper to burn at the base of the chimney it will have warmed the chimney enough to support the draft required to vent your fireplace. Priming your chimney in this way will prevent a smoky fire.

Mastering the Top-Down Burn

The fireplace experts at the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommend re-learning how to build a fire. This is because the easiest fire to build, light, and maintain is built in the opposite way as the traditional fire.

Most have been taught to build a fire with kindling at the bottom, sticks and medium logs on top of that, and large logs at the top. Thus, catching and burning from the bottom up. The top-down burn is build the opposite way. This is done with the large logs on bottom, medium next, and kindling on the top. So now the fire sits on top, and ashes, cinders, and flames fall, igniting the fuel below. This offers a cleaner burn, resulting in a more efficient fire, and hotter temperatures that push the exhaust up the chimney easily.

Alternative Methods

Some homeowners opt for a less efficient, but just as effective way to prepare a cold chimney. Since the air in the chimney is cold it will naturally fall. You can simply open the damper and allow the cold air to fall out of the chimney. It will cool the room, but will make it easier to light after the air has cleared from the chimney.

Of course it is always easiest to build a fire when you choose the proper wood, and maintain your chimney and fireplace properly. To have your chimney cleaned or inspected you can schedule an appointment online with Bulldog Chimney Sweeps today!