While many love the sensory experience of a wood fire, not everyone loves the chores involved with burning wood. Having to bring in more firewood from outside to keep a fire going can be tiring, especially when the weather gets freezing cold. Knowing how to build an efficient fire allows you to spend more time enjoying the cozy flames instead of trudging outside to get more fuel. Aelite Chimney Specialties loves helping our customers learn how to build better fires, and we would like to tell you how to build a top-down fire, which is recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). This method of building a fire will give you longer lasting and warmer fires without spending a lot of time maintaining the flames.
Start with the largest pieces of firewood.
Although you may have learned to place your largest logs on top of the fire, a top-down burn build starts with those pieces on the bottom. Do not place the firewood parallel to the opening of the fireplace. Instead, place the ends of the logs facing the front and back of the fireplace.
Add layers of smaller logs.
Once you have your base of larger pieces of firewood, you can then stack layers of smaller pieces on top until you have reached half of the height of the firebox. You want to make each level smaller as you stack higher.
Place kindling and wood shavings on the top.
You will want to build a mini-version with your kindling of what you just built with the firewood. At the very top of your kindling stack, place wood shavings. You will want to stop building just below the fireplace opening.
Light the fire!
If you have struggled with lighting wood fires in the past, you will appreciate how simple it is to get a top-down burn fire started. Typically, you will only need a single match or the flame from an automatic lighter to ignite the wood shavings. You can also roll up a newspaper and light the end to start the fire.
A top-down burn will give you a fire that produces less smoke and creosote. You will also notice fewer ashes on the floor in front of the fireplace because you will not have larger logs falling on smaller pieces of firewood. Aelite Chimney Specialties also recommends that you only burn seasoned firewood. Contact us to learn more tips for building the best and most efficient wood fires this winter.