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Claire’s Tips for Getting Your Fire Going

When Claire and Mike moved into their 1930s house in Selly Oak,  south Birmingham, eight years ago they soon realised that the antiquated heating system just wasn’t going to cut it. As well as investing in a new, efficient boiler they had a wood burning stove installed “when we’re in the house, we spend most of our time downstairs in the family room so it seemed silly to put the central heating on to heat the whole house, a wood burner just seemed like the logical solution.” Since then Claire has been perfecting the art of lighting the fire and most importantly keeping it going. “We get a lot of enquiries from people who have just had a new stove installed and need advice on how to use their new wood burner – as there are so many different types of stove and they all have their own quirks it’s a matter of sticking to a few golden rules and trial and error until you find what works for you.”

Tip 1: Preparation
Clean out the ash in the bottom of your wood burning stove but leave some of the chunks behind and open all of the air vents on the stove.
Always make sure you have dry wood to burn – we recommend kiln dried hard wood logs and softwood kindling from Harrington Woodfuel Company, obviously! Dry wood ensures your stove works efficiently, creates less smoke and means your chimney and wood burner won’t need cleaning as often.
Tip 2: Warm the flue
If you are struggling to keep your fire lit it may be that you need to warm the flue – start with some of our soft wood kindling, lay two pieces parallel with two of our 100% biomass firelighters in between. When you’ve lit the firelighters lay a few more pieces of kindling on top, making sure there are lots of gaps for air to circulate and ‘feed’ the fire.
Tip 3: Get a good bed
To have a well-lit fire that will last throughout the day or evening, you need to make sure you have a good bed to work on. Make sure you have a roaring fire made just of kindling before you put your hard wood logs on.
Tip 4: Start small
Build your fire up slowly, by adding a small log at first and working up to larger logs that don’t need tending to as often.
Tip 5: Fire needs air
Once you fire is going strong and you are confident that the logs have caught fire, start to slowly close off your vents, one at a time. Yes fire needs air, but the more air you have going through your stove the quicker the wood will burn. It’s a bit of a balancing act but you’ll soon get to know what works for you.
Tip 6: Re-starting your fire
So the phone’s gone and you’ve forgotten about the fire and walked back in to find it slowly smouldering. To get it going again put some of the really small bits of kindling onto the glowing base, it will soon catch fire and as soon as it does quickly put a small log on and you’ll be ready to build your fire up again.
Just remember its trial and error and you’ll soon get know what works for you.

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