This guide will show you exactly how to build a fire in a fireplace with simple and easy to follow steps. We’ll take a look at how to reduce the amount of smoke, how to make sure it goes out the chimney, and some tips to help you make better fires.
By the end of the guide, you’ll be well-equipped to make the best fires that last forever and keep you warm in the cold!
Let’s get into the guide.
How to Build a Fire in a Fireplace Quick and Easy
Let’s look at some the keywords you’ll see throughout the guide:
- Damper: the device that controls how much air flows out through the chimney or outlet
- Flue: the passage through the chimney or outlet that the air and smoke follow
- Tinder: small and dry material that catches fire easily (e.g. twigs and newspaper)
- Kindling: Larger pieces of wood (not the logs) that catch fire after the tinder
Once you’re familiar with these terms, you’re ready to learn how to draw fire in a fireplace. Let’s move on!
Best Way to Build a Fire in a Fireplace
This is the standard and most simple way to build a fire without using any additional products like firelighters and gel.
Follow these 5 easy “How to start a fire in your fireplace” steps to build an awesome fire:
Step 1 – Prepare the Fireplace
Make sure that the damper is open and unobstructed. If it’s not properly open, smoke will pour back into your room.
If the fireplace has glass doors, open them. You want the air inside the fireplace to be at the same temperature as the rest of the room. This should only take 10-15 minutes.
Step 2 – Set up the Tinder
No, we’re not talking about the dating app! Get 5 sheets of newspaper, layer them, and roll them up like you’re wringing a wet cloth.
Tie the wrung newspaper into a knot and place it at the base of the fire.
Add some dry twigs and pine needles if you can.
Step 3 – Placing the Kindling
The kindling will help the larger logs catch fire. Place them over the tinder in a cone shape (like a tee-pee). Make sure all of them are dry.
Step 4 – Lighting the Fire
You should light the fire before putting the logs on, as they might drown out the fire before it even starts.
Using a match or firelighter, ignite the tinder from multiple angles.
Try to fan the flame a little by blowing at its base. As soon as some of the kindling catches fire, move on to the next step.
Step 5 – Place the Logs and Watch It Burn!
Once the kindling has caught fire, place the logs. Try to set them up the same way you set up the kindling (in the cone-shape).
Keep fanning the fire gently until the logs catch fire. You can also add some more kindling if the fire is struggling to get going. That’s it! You’ve started the perfect fire. All you need to do is close the glass doors and watch it burn.
P.S. You might need to leave the doors a little open to let air in.
How to Start a Fire in a Fireplace without Smoke
There are a couple of things you can try to change up if you’re getting too much smoke from your fires. Here they are:
- Make sure your wood is dry – you’ll know it’s too wet if it makes loud popping noises while burning
- Check to see that the damper is properly open and the flue has no blockages
- Don’t use too much tinder
- Letting too much fresh air into the fire can cause more smoke – you need to get the balance right
- Try building a top-down fire: this means you should have the logs at the bottom, then the tinder, then the kindling.
How to Start a Fire in a Fireplace without Kindling
This is a common question as you don’t always have the time or access to materials. The fastest and easiest method would be to get some fire-lighting gel. Put a couple of squirts onto your logs. Lay the logs out perpendicular to the fireplace opening or glass doors.
Leave some space in the center so that the fire doesn’t drown itself out. Ignite the gel by running a lit match along as much of the gel as possible. Fan the fire if you need to.
You can use pine cones and needles if you don’t have the gel. They burn for a long time and have a pleasant smell – just make sure they’re dry enough.
How to Start a Fire in a Gas Fireplace
Here are the steps to follow when lighting a fire in a gas fireplace:
- Lay your logs with the bigger ones at the bottom and the smaller ones at the top
- Locate the gas valve – it’s usually to the immediate right or left of your gas fireplace
- Use the key to open the gas valve (counterclockwise rotation) – make sure it’s not opened too far
- You should hear the gas start to flow
- Find the pipe with holes that feeds the gas into the fireplace at the base
- Use an extended nose lighter near to the pipe to ignite the gas
- Be careful as there might be a little “puff up” of flames when it’s first ignited
- Use the gas valve and key to set the flames where you want them
That’s it for our guide!
You should be able to comfortably answer the “How do you start a fire in a fireplace” question. We’ve also looked at some different methods, and some tips to keep you smoke-free and safe.
Now that you know how to build a fire in a fireplace, you’re ready to put it into practice and build some majestic fires to keep you warm on even the coldest nights!