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How to light a Log Fire

Most people would agree there’s nothing better than a roaring log fire.

Logs for sale
Logs for sale
Reclaim and Maintain

Learn How to light a Fire

In 2021 knowing how to light a log fire isn’t always common knowledge. While accessible central heating is a mark of society advancing, most people would agree there’s nothing better than a roaring log fire.

Staying in a countryside cottage or pub complete with log fireplace? Or perhaps thinking of having a wood-burning stove installed at home? This guide will give you the basics on how to light a log fire. Afterall, when it comes to fire safety it’s better to learn than be burned.

Knowing Your Wood

The first step in knowing how to light a log fire is having the right logs and kindling. The logs you use should be dry, seasoned, and from a tree noted for its firewood quality. Ash logs are considered great firewood due to their high resin content. This causes ash wood to burn slowly and at a lower temperature.

An evergreen tree like pine, on the other hand, isn’t so good as it leaves more creosote build up in your fireplace. Creosote is considered potentially carcinogenic, as well as being dangerously flammable. This means paying for chimney sweeps more often if you want to burn evergreen wood safely.

Other types of wood that are readily available in the UK and great for firewood include:

  • Apple wood
  • Birch
  • Oak
  • Beech
  • Walnut
Drying Logs for sale
Logs for sale

Learn How to light a Fire

When it comes to kindling you can be a little more lenient. As long as it’s bone-dry, easy to light, and on the smaller side; it can generally be used as kindling. Just be aware that certain decent options, such as newspaper, can create a lot of ash due to additives and ink.

Some good options for kindling are:

  • Twigs
  • Untreated twine
  • Pinecones
  • Dried orange peel
  • Paper

At Man Coed we have your log and kindling needs covered with our biomass fuels. Meaning the trees waste from our work is recycled into useful products to heat your home! 

Step One: preparations.

There is some debate on whether to clear old ashes from your stove before lighting a fresh fire. A thin layer (between three and five centimeters) of white ash can cradle the first embers of your fire and protect the basin of your stove. However, relighting a smoldering fire can cause a lot of smoke and therefore increase soot build up.

For the “top down” lighting method we’re going to explore in this blog, an ash cradle isn’t necessary. As such, the first step is to sweep old ashes into the grate. Make sure your stove is functioning correctly and in a well-ventilated area.

Step two: laying the logs.

Lay two larger logs at the bottom of your fire. These logs should be no thicker than 10cm in diameter so split them if needs be.

Next, add a layer of smaller logs, roughly half the diameter of your base logs. Be sparing! It’s important not to smother your fire as oxygen is essential for a healthy fire. You can always add more logs later on so make sure there’s gaps between your logs to improve airflow.

Finally, add a layer of kindling on top. You may also add a small piece of firelighter if you struggle to get the fire started. Make sure the kindling or firelighter you plan to light is easily accessible.

Step three: light your fire.

If you’ve laid your logs correctly then lighting should be the simplest step in tackling how to light a log fire. With the door and stove vents open, light the top of the kindling or firelighter. This is made easier with a safety gas lighter or long wooden match.

It’s vital you give the fire ample time to come up to temperature, before you close the vents or add more logs. Waiting roughly forty minutes is generally sufficient. Although this depends on many factors; such as the size and moisture content of your wood, for example.

how to light a fire with a match
how to light a log fire

Step four: feeding your fire.

When your flames are tall and the bottom logs are beginning to burn you fire is established. You can now adjust the vents to your temperature preference. Less airflow means lower flames and less heat, so a bit of fine-tuning is necessary to effectively heat your home.

Once you’re more experienced in lighting a log fire, you may wonder how to get the most out of your logs. It’s a good idea to wait until the large logs at the base are smouldering to add additional logs. This is both to prevent smothering your fire as well as reducing trips to the woodshed.

The only remaining step is to enjoy your crackling flames and the satisfaction that comes with knowing how to light a log fire!