How to use your fireplace
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How to use your fireplace

Before building a fire in a fireplace it is best to make sure it is clean of any debris from the previous fire. It has been said that approximately an inch of ash from a previous fire can cushion and insulate embers and keep them burning, and so therefore it is fine to keep a certain amount of ash on the floor of the firebox, but generally speaking it is best to keep the firebox clean and free of remaining debris. This rule also applies to the grating that holds the wood while it is burning. Excess debris on the grate can cause material buildup and excess smoke, so it is best to keep the grating clean as possible.

Collect fire building materials together, those being paper, kindling, seasoned wood, means to light the fire (lighter, long matches), and fireplace tools as well as an extinguisher nearby.

Build the fire by starting with the paper (crumbled loosely so as not to be dense and allow air in) first under the grate and proceed to putting kindling on the grate with larger wood stacked in a way as to not suffocate kindling. Air components in fire making must always be considered, and suffocation is a cause for fires not burning well and creosote buildup in chimneys.

Before setting a match to the fire open the damper half way allowing air to come in and feed the fire as well as letting smoke out.

Tend to the fire while it first burns, watching for any help it may need in the form of moving wood or regulating the air flow by means of the damper. Once the fire is going, close the mesh netting in front of the firebox while remembering to never leave a fire unattended for long periods of time.

During the course of burning watch the fire and tend to it by using the poker or the tongs to adjust wood, or by adding wood to a dying fire. Watch for signs of smokiness in the house of troubles with smoke leaving the chimney. Attentiveness while burning will help to spot trouble spots and prevent costly damage or repairs if something goes wrong.

When the fire dies close the damper all the way. It takes roughly an entire day for the ash to be cooled enough to remove unless using a metal can and scoop and water to wet the ash while in the can. This is messy and it is recommended that waiting until the ash is cooled of appropriately in the firebox before removal is best. Once the ash is removed sweep with a hand brush.

Types of Fireplaces

Fireplaces are made in many different types. There are traditional fireplaces that are built in to the home right into the wall. These fireplaces have a hearth and a masonry chimney. read more

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