Putting trash bags on your windshield before an ice storm, putting salt on a napkin to keep it from sticking to the bottom of your icy glass, lying when your wife asks about her new haircut - these are great life hacks. Similarly, at The Fireplace and More Store we’ve learned a few fireplace hacks through the years. So tighten up those cargo shorts full of candy for the movie theater and hold on, because here come some excellent fireplace hacks.
Build a slow and withdrawn fire. Placing the fire near the back of the firebox will reduce the risk of dangerous ash making its way to your carpet or drapes. That applies to keeping a smaller fire as well, but even more so a low fire avoids the risk of cracking your chimney due to high heat.
Reduce soot. In order to mitigate the accumulation of creosote, burn dry hardwoods. The hotter fire gives a more complete burn and leaves less soot that clings to the flue. To reduce the soot is to lower the risk of fire and assist the ventilation of smoke.
Burn only wood. It’s tempting to toss in trash or maybe even a penny, which gives off green and purple plumes when burned. Most foreign items like that give off hazardous fumes. Some also create more creosote than wood.
Use efficient kindling. Dryer lint, orange peels, dried leaves - these all serve as great kindling and produce less creosote than paper.
Clean the firebox as well as the flue and chimney. A professional cleaning of the flue ensures safety, but also optimizes air flow. Be sure to get a cleaning yearly. Cleaning ash from the firebox between fires will also maintain maximum airflow and allow for larger fires.
Crack a window. Not only is having fresh air safer, a small air source gives the fire some fuel. Having a draft from the window to the flue is not usually a good thing, but with a fire that needs oxygen, the oxygen furnished by the draft will assist the fire.
Check the damper. The damper keeps air from escaping up the flue. It’s a great tool for managing a fire’s intensity, but the downside is that if it does not seal well, it can also let warm air from the room escape, taking your money and comfort with it. A faulty damper is one of the leading causes of energy loss with a fireplace.
Install a glass door. Much like the damper, a glass door can mitigate heat loss when there is no fire.
Create airflow to start the fire. When a fire is starting, there isn’t a lot of air coming to it. A fireplace hack is to prime the flue by having something burning, like a newspaper, near the fire. The larger flames of the held item will draw more of a current and then that current will feed the new, weaker fire.
Install a fire throwback. In order to “throw back” some of the heat into the room, some people install a heavy cast iron wall behind the fire.
At The Fireplace and More Store we know many more fireplace hacks - so many that we’ve run out of Internet paper here. Though you’ll find some in our blog, you may have to come talk to us. So if you’re in the market for anything fireplace related, or you want other tips, contact us!