Build a Better Fire with a Top-Down Burn

by | Dec 31, 2015 | Fireplace Maintenance

On the coldest days in winter, there is nothing like warming up by a cozy wood fire. Burning wood provides some wonderful sensory experiences, and knowing the best ways to burn wood can make this atmosphere even better. Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service would like to tell you how to build a fire by using the top-down burn. Recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), building a top-down burn will give you a longer lasting fire with less smoke. A CSIA instructor, Bob Fish, claims, “[a top-down burn] takes a little longer to set it up, but it definitely burns much better, much cleaner.” If you would like to enjoy warm fires that produce less creosote and smoke, follow these four simple steps to build a top-down burn with seasoned firewood this winter.

1) Start with your largest pieces of seasoned firewood.Build a Better Fire With a Top Down Burn - Raleigh NC - Mr. Smokestack

At the bottom of your fireplace or stove, place the largest pieces of wood with the ends facing the front and back of the firebox. If you put the wood with the ends facing the sides, the air will not mix as well with the wood. When the wood is parallel to the opening of your fireplace or stove, the air will only hit the broad side of the logs.

2) Stack layers of smaller pieces of seasoned firewood on top of the larger logs.

Making each layer smaller than the layer below it, keep stacking the firewood until it reaches about half of the height of your fireplace or stove.

3) Add your kindling.

Begin by placing the biggest pieces of kindling on top of the wood stack. Continue layering the kindling until you reach just below the opening of the fireplace or stove. You will want to top the stack with wood shavings. Never build the stack higher than the fireplace or stove opening.

4) Light the fire!

Now you are ready to light the wood shavings. You can probably light the fire with a single match or an automatic lighter. If you have trouble, you can always put wadded up newspaper on top to ignite.

You should notice less smoke when you light it from the top. You also will not have to worry about the largest logs falling as the fire burns. We feel that a top-down burn can provide you with better fires this winter. Contact us at Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service to find out more tips on the best ways to burn wood.

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