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How to get your
fire right

By following a few simple steps, you can have a great fire AND keep the air clean

Getting it right is easy once you know how and it really is important. Bringing your fire up to the correct operating temperature quickly and keeping it there will give you  the best result. Pollution will be minimised, you’ll save money and your chimney will be cleaner and safer.

8 steps to the perfect fire

Follow our simple steps to ‘get it right’ – and you’ll save money, stay safe AND reduce pollution

Step 1
How to light your fire - step 1

Use plenty of small kindling or a suitable firelighter so the fire is quickly established. Wood should have 20% moisture or less. If buying logs, look for the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo.

Step 2
How to light your fire - step 2

Set all air controls to fully open, light the fire and close the stove door. For open fires, use a spark guard when lighting.

Step 3

For the ‘Top down’ lighting method please visit the ‘Advanced Woodburning’ page on our website.

Step 4

For stoves, burn for at least 10 minutes. It takes time to get up to temperature. You may need to refuel now. Set air controls once operating temp is reached. All stoves differ – check instructions but more importantly, ask your sweep to show you how to ‘Get it Right’

Step 5

Find out if your stove is ‘Ecodesign’. If it is, then your sweep can explain how to get the best from it. If it’s not, it’s even more important to get your sweep to cover the simple steps to a cleaner burn because the way YOU operate it makes all the difference.

Step 6

A flue pipe thermometer helps you know when you have reached optimum temperature. Try to keep it there. Not all stoves are suitable for a thermometer. Check manufacturers instruction or ask your sweep / installer.

Step 7

Once you reach optimum temperature, closing air controls will slow the burn, BUT, it is vital not to close too much. This is particularly important for non-Ecodesign stoves. Try to keep the fire bright and the glass should stay clear.

Step 7

You can check you are Burning Right by looking at the chimney. There should be NO smoke (except when lighting or perhaps re-fuelling). If you see smoke, you can learn more about this on the website, or better still, ask your local professional sweep.

Have a question or need more help?

Every stove is different, and you need to know what is best for you. Ask your local professional sweep / installer to show you how to Get it Right. Following their advice will save fuel (money), your chimney will be cleaner (safer) and you can significantly reduce emissions.

Do's and Don'ts

Bring the stove to operating temperature quickly and try to keep it there

 Use dry wood – 20% moisture or less

Use manufacturer’s recommended fuels Sweep your chimney regularly. A professional sweep can give lots of useful extra advice.

Store and stack your logs so they are well ventilated

Use a thermometer, moisture meter and stove fan to help improve efficiency, save money and reduce pollution

 Do fit a Carbon Monoxide alarm. This has nothing to do with how the fire burns, it’s just common sense

If you have an older or inefficient stove or one that’s too powerful, consider replacing it with a modern efficient model. You’ll instantly begin to save money and burn cleaner

Don’t close off the air to “slumber” the fuel for long periods or overnight

Don’t use large logs – 4 to 6 inch / 100 to 150mm diameter is best

Don’t burn wood or coal on open fires in Smoke Control Areas

 Unless you have just lit or just refuelled the fire, don’t allow smoke to come from the top of the chimney

 Don’t buy a stove which is too big (too powerful) for the room. You’ll get too hot and be likely to shut the air controls too much. The burning temperature will drop, fuel is wasted and pollution increased

Don’t be tempted to fit or alter any part of a solid fuel system yourself – it’s far too easy to get something wrong!

Don’t mix smokeless fuel and wood, you won’t get the best from either fuel

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