Here are a few tips on building a warm fire in the fireplace.  This tips will ensure you have not only a warm fire, but a safe fire.

Make sure you are burning only well-seasoned, 1+ years cut wood in the fireplace. It produces more heat and burns cleaner efficiently, all while producing minimal smoke.  A University of Illinois study also found that burning wet or green wood in a fireplace causes creosote to build up. As creosote accumulates, it can lead to a devastating explosion.

When selecting or storing your firewood make sure it is stored in a dry, well-ventilated location. If the wood is stored outside be sure that it is covered and not in an area that can get flooded.

Make sure you store your firewood at least 30 feet away from the house and off the ground. This will help keep the wood dry and protect it from insects.  Firewood can attract a lot of insects which can invade your home when the wood is stored too close to the house.

When selecting wood look for dark to gray colored wood, which will signify older, drier wood.  When picking up the wood it should be light which means that there is little to no water in the wood.

If you see that there is missing bark or that the bark is easy to pull off it means that the wood has dried out. The bark on wood needs moisture to adhere to the wood.

Consider buying nut bearing trees for firewood. Trees like oak or hickory are hardwoods and very desirable as firewood because it burns cleaner and longer. Soft wood like pine and aspen will burn much faster.  However a few small pieces of softwood is best for kindling to start your fire because it is easier to ignite.

Watch for our next blog posts with more tips on using and maintaining your fireplace. Don’t fall into the assumption that all you need to do with a fireplace is buy some wood, burn it and clean out the fireplace once and awhile. There are important things homeowners need to know to keep their home and family safe so you can continue to build warm memories around the fireplace.

And as always, the number one safety rule is to have your fireplace inspected and swept every year.