Having a home with a fireplace is a dream for the majority of homeowners. There’s something deeply satisfying about the heat from a burning fire. It brings you back to your roots. It’s soothing. Countless of our ancestors lived close-by a source of fire to keep themselves warm and to cook their food. So, it’s easy to see that the fireplace is anchored in our genes. But do you know how to maintain a fireplace?
It is part of our definition of a home, but it’s not always part of our knowledge. Nowadays, the fireplace is one of the top most common sources of fire-related incidents at home. The reason? Because we’ve forgotten how to look after the fire the way our ancestors used to!
How To Maintain a Fireplace On Your Homestead
Stay on top of fireplace maintenance
Your fireplace injects warmth and a sense of coziness to your home. But it doesn’t mean it’s a safe area. On the contrary, you need to stay on top of your maintenance schedule if you want to be able to light a fire safely. Over 55% of fires related to your heating equipment are caused by a fireplace that wasn’t properly cleaned. Indeed, a flammable substance, creosote, is deposited in the chimney when your logs burn.
Without professional chimney sweep services, the creosote accumulates and can catch fires in the presence of hot sparks. This can spread rapidly to the rest of your home. You can’t keep the creosote buildup inside your chimney. Regular maintenance appointments are a matter of safety.
You need quality wood
You can’t start a fire without wood. But preparing your firewood for homesteading is all about keeping your heat 100% self-sufficient, and hopefully with the smallest footprint possible for the planet. If you’re new to firewood calculations, you need to take into consideration the size of your home to define how much wood is required for heating purposes, as well as your location.
Once the quantity is established, you need to focused on maintaining the quality of your food. Dead trees and classified timber wood are brilliant sources. Finally, you should prepare the wood to burn, both in terms of drying and seasoning for your fireplace.
Back to basics: Can you light a fire?
Now to the big question: how to start a fire without filling the room with smoke? Start by checking the damper is open to ensure the smoke can escape. Do make sure to air the fireplace if it has a door before lighting the fire and check the draft. Finally, proceed in layers: First the base with newspaper, then the kindling, and finally the logs.
Identifying and correcting issues ensures you can keep your fire burning. If the kindling doesn’t catch fire, it’s because it isn’t dry enough or you’re not using enough newspapers. When your logs don’t catch fire, it’s usually because they’re smothering the flames.
Add more papers instead and wait before adding more wood. Last but not least, never use gas in your fireplace even if you’re struggling to get the fire started. You are likely to lose control rapidly.
Understanding how your fireplace works and how to make the most of your firewood is the key to keeping your fire burning for as long as possible. But beware, never start a fire without taking all the necessary precautions!