With Christmas a distant memory and Storm Brandon battering at our doors, there is nothing else for it but to batten down the hatches and snuggle at home in front of the fire with comfort food and a warming drink.
If you’re not feeling the heat from your fire, it could be down to your fire lighting methods or the wood that you are using. Here are our top tips for how you can make your fire burn hot, hot, hot even on the coldest days.
Get off to a good start
Starting with the kindling, if you use wood that is dry and which burns quickly and hot, you will be getting off to a great start. Like many things, your fire operates better if it warms up first. Burn paper and plenty of dry kindling to get your stove hot, so that your logs have less work to do.
Use dry wood
Don’t be tempted to burn wood that hasn’t been seasoned. The seasoning process dries out ambient moisture as well as sap from the wood, so that it burns better. Before you use it, wood should be chopped, split and left to season for a year at least; if you use under-seasoned it won’t burn as well, and the residue will build up on the chimney lining, putting you at risk of chimney fire.
Choose the right wood
Different wood is good for different purposes; less dense wood burns quickly, but produces less heat, while hardwood burns longer and hotter. Start off with a softer wood to get your fire hot and add a mix of hard wood once you have a good heat going.
Know your vents
Vents are there for a reason and, when used correctly, can improve the function of your fire. Open both vents at the bottom when you are lighting the fire so that more oxygen reaches the fire. Likewise, once the fire is going, close the vent to stop your fire from burning too fast.
A roaring fire looks great, but it isn’t necessarily the most efficient use of your wood. As long as wood is burning, avoid adding more until it dies down.
Clean your fire
A thin layer of ashes can help to improve the burn of your fire, but too much can prevent air circulation.
Maintain your chimney
A clean chimney will improve the draw, which will help your fire to burn hotter. It will also help to prevent chimney fires in the long run. Regularly get your chimney swept by a reliable chimney sweep to protect your home and improve your fire production.
With these simple tips you can make sure that you stay toasty warm, whatever the weather.