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  • Writer's pictureGBT Heating & Cooling

How to Light a Wood Fire

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

There’s something special about a crackling fire on a cold evening. It adds instant ambiance and makes a home feel warm and inviting. But a fireplace fire is more than just a pretty face. A properly built fire will not only look beautiful but require less poking and prodding while emitting maximum heat. And that can help lower your heating bill, even if just a little.

Today, we’ll point out two fool-proof methods for building the perfect fire.

First, have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected once a year to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. Once you’re ready to start a new fire, open the damper, allowing smoke to rise up through the chimney instead of into your living space.



The Top-Down Method – This is the preferred method for lighting a fire because it creates a stronger draft which then allows the fire to burn longer, stronger, and with a cleaner burn.

• Group seasoned wood by size (small, medium, and large). • Line up the largest logs across the fireplace grate. • Place a roll of medium logs perpendicular to the row of large logs. • Lay down the smallest logs perpendicular to the layer of logs beneath it. • Use kindling to form the top layer, making sure the stack of wood doesn’t take up more than half the height of the fireplace. • Light the fire from the top, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

The Log Cabin Method – This popular method is easy to build because it doesn’t require as much balancing of the logs. It also burns rather slowly for minimum maintenance with maximum enjoyment.

• Place two thin logs, minus any bark, parallel to the back of the fireplace approximately six inches apart. • Make a pile of kindling between the logs. • Place two additional logs perpendicular to the previous two, mimicking a log cabin style structure. • Position two more logs perpendicular to the middle layer, keeping the stack height to no more than half the height of the fireplace. • Light the kindling and enjoy.

As enjoyable as wood-burning fires can be, they are no substitute for a well-maintained and high efficiency furnace – unless you live in a cave. Short of that, keep the heat flowing all winter long with preventive maintenance performed by the heating and cooling professionals at GBT. Contact us today or any time for service.

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