Getting the Most from your Fireplace

A fireplace adds warmth and comfort to your home, while providing a cozy spot for the family to gather around in. For it to work well, the fireplace needs to be optimized for maximum efficiency. Follow these tips on how to get the most out of your fireplace.

1. Use Good Firewood

Estate Fireplace Wood Holder from Balsam Hill
Keep firewood neatly stacked with Balsam Hill’s Estate Fireplace Wood Holder

Building an effective fire requires good wood. Make sure to use only properly seasoned firewood, which is chopped wood that was dried and stacked for at least half of the year. Wood burns best when the moisture content is less than 20 percent.

2. Don’t Compromise on Air Quality

To avoid excessive smoke, test the moisture with a wood moisture meter before burning. Never use ocean driftwood, plywood, particle board, or other treated lumber as these release toxic chemicals which can cause serious health issues. For increased safety, install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your house.

3. Learn the Technique

With knowledge and practice, you can build a strong-burning fire that creates more warmth with less wood. To burn a fire safely and efficiently, build it slowly, and then add more wood as it heats up.

Using a fireplace lighter, start with dry kindling and small pieces of wood. Increase the airflow in the early stages by fully opening the damper. Burn the fire hot before adding more wood and put spaces between the firewood as you add more. Maintain airflow by regularly removing ashes from the fireplace.

4. Circulate the Heat

Maximize the heat by letting the toasty air circulate. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise on low speed to help move trapped hot air near the ceiling. Using fans redirects warm air from the ceiling down the walls and into the living space. The more you distribute the warmth, the more energy and money you save.

5. Minimize Heat Loss

Replace a poorly sealed damper on your wood fireplace to prevent heat loss. Top-mounted dampers that also function as rain caps provide a tighter closure than traditional versions. Another way to prevent warm air from going to waste is improving the insulation in your home.

6. Maintain your Fireplace

Regular fireplace maintenance improves efficiency, prevents fire hazards, and provides good draft. Have a certified chimney sweep inspect the hearth and chimney for any gaps, cracks, or creosote buildup. You can have a chimney cap installed to keep objects, rain, and snow from falling into your chimney. This reduces downdrafts, which causes a smoky fireplace.

7. Enjoy the Cozy Fire Safely

Estate Fireplace Screen from Balsam Hill
3-Panel Estate Fireplace Screen tempers heat while giving you safe access to the hearth

Protect yourself and your hardwood floors or carpet by using a fireplace screen to keep errant embers and sparks from escaping the hearth. Fireplace screens also double as decorative accent that enhance the appearance of a room.

There’s nothing cozier than a warm fire in a crackling hearth. If you have roasting forks, you can even have a little campsite treat in the comfort of your own home. Balsam Hill also offers fireplace accessories to help you tend to the fire.

Get the most out of your cozy fire this cold season. Follow these simple guidelines to keep your fireplace burning brightly and safely.

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