Tips for Building a Fire in a Fireplace
Updated: Aug 31
Cheer up your dreary winter days or a stormy start to spring by snuggling up next to a warm, crackling fire in your home’s fireplace. With the right fuel and chimney maintenance, a fire is an efficient, safe, and cozy way to stay warm around Nashville.
At Chim Chimney, we’ve been providing Nashville-area homes with reliable chimney repairs and maintenance so you can start a fire anytime without worrying about creosote or disrepair. We’ve collected some of our top tips for building a fire in a fireplace. Let’s get started!
Fireplace Fires Start With Safety
Safety is the most important thing to keep in mind—before, during, and after starting a fire. Before your next evening in, schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection appointment. These services remove old creosote and soot buildup, ensure your chimney is in good condition for starting a fire, and give you peace of mind. The team at Chim Chimney specializes in quick and comprehensive chimney inspections. We also provide sweepings, maintenance, and repairs to prepare your chimney.
We recommend checking over the area before you light a fire. Remove anything flammable or sensitive to heat that’s near the fireplace. You might also put up a guard or barrier if you have pets or small children.
Choose the Right Fireplace Wood
The wood you use to create your fire makes all the difference in how to build a fire in a fireplace. Opt for safe hardwoods that have been thoroughly dried. Greenwood is still wet and will produce much more smoke. Some wood, such as plywood scraps, pallets, or Christmas trees, have chemical coatings that make them unsafe to burn. Look for maple, oak, or fruit tree wood sold in stores or dried by neighbors looking to share extra firewood they don’t need.
Choosing the right kindling can make your next fire less frustrating. To start the fire, use small pieces of dried pine or other softwoods as kindling. You can place the kindling for a bottom-up or top-down fire depending on your preferences. Place crumpled newspaper or other safe tinder methods for an even easier start. If you buy fireplace logs from a store, they often include kindling and tinder in the package.
Arrange the Logs
The trickiest part of stacking logs is creating a stable structure with enough space for air circulation. Use bigger logs to form a base (with plenty of space between them). Then stack smaller logs on top at a 90° angle to create a top layer. The logs should overlap but still have plenty of breathing room, so the fire doesn’t extinguish itself too early.
What to Avoid When Starting a Fire
There are some important safety dos and don’ts to keep in mind when learning how to build a fire in a fireplace. Here are our top tips on what to avoid:
Avoid chemically treated and wet wood so you can enjoy your fire without excess smoke and chemicals in the air.
Don’t start one without a fire extinguisher. Most homes have a fire extinguisher, but they could be old or hidden away. Double-check the date and make sure it’s accessible.
Don’t leave the fire unattended. Unwatched fires can act unpredictably. Someone should stay in the room while the fireplace is lit. Also, ensure you have supplies ready to extinguish the fire before leaving your home or going to bed for the night.
Stay Warm This Season With Chim Chimney’s Reliable Chimney Maintenance
Taking the right steps to protect your home and chimney is easy with our comprehensive inspection and maintenance services. We serve homes within Nashville and have years of experience ensuring that chimneys and fireplaces are in the right condition for a toasty fire. Now that you know how to start a fire in a fireplace, contact us today to learn more or to schedule a servicing appointment.