Ah, the delights of winter. Warm sweaters, hot soup and a cozy fireplace or woodstove.
With the onset of cold weather, lots of people are lighting the first fire of the season. I've heated my homes with wood for over a decade now, so I thought I'd share a few tips I've picked up over the years for safe, comfortable home fires.
Is It Installed Correctly and in Good Condition?
Regular Cleaning Prevents Chimney Fires
The Right Wood Burns Better
If you only burn your stove occasionally, you can pick up a tiny bundle of firewood at the grocery store. It's expensive, but it's an easy luxury.
However, if you're going to burn regularly, get a stash of well-dried hardwood such as oak or locust. You can also mix a few softwood logs in there, like pine. The soft woods are nice when you're starting a fire because they burn easily and heat the room up quickly.
However, the hard woods are better for long-term, regular use because they create less creosote. Hardwoods also burn longer, so you don't have to keep adding logs all the time.
In a perfect world, you'll get your firewood a few months before winter sets in, so the wood has time to dry and is easy to light. For the best results, cover it from rain and snow.
Prevent Hot Rolling Logs of Flaming Death
Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but when you're burning a fire, it helps to keep in mind that hot logs or sparks can come out of the front of the stove.
Pay attention to what's in front of your stove. If you have hardwood floors, get a fire resistant hearth rug to protect the floor. An ordinary rug like this one should be moved away from the stove before you light the fire.
If you like to leave the stove door open, you may also want to get a fire screen to keep sparks from popping out.
Get the Right Accessories
Now that you've got your woodstove in order, what other winter projects would you like to get done? I'll be glad to help with your "to do" list.