HBR Chimney

How to use a Fireplace

Safety tips and advice for your fireplace

How to use a Fireplace

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How to use a Fireplace

Fireplace for Beginners

There are two basic fireplaces, Gas and Wood burning. A gas fireplace has gas logs (typically) a gas switch usually in the fireplace brick or floor but can be a light switch with more modern fireplaces leveraging a pilot light.

Wood Burning Fireplaces should have a rack to allow air to circulate under the wood. To begin, Place the wood on the rack. The size of the fire will be proportionate to the number of logs used. Most should be bicep and consist of woods approved for fireplaces and stacked such that the logs cannot roll forward out of the fireplace easily or when burning. Always make sure the fireplace is relatively free of embers coals, and ash. This will allow for a cleaner burn

A few notes for the beginner.

  • Never burn treated (cut lumber) or manufactured wood as these could have poisonous vapors from glues, paints, and varnishes that are released when burning. Do not burn cedar or tropical woods as these have foul smells and can emit toxins.
  • Never use gasoline to light a fire. It explodes. If you must use lighter fluid, kindling or Firestarter logs to light. Easy light logs are the best for the uninitiated.
  • Before you light, make sure the airway is open (dampers and flue). These can be adjusted by levers typically found above the center of the fireplace.
  • Never adjust these after the fire is going as severe burns may result. Also, always try to use long matches when lighting a fireplace. These can me readily purchased at stores.

Once lit, let the fire go and close the screen or glass. DO not light a wood burning fireplace without a screen or glass cover as popping embers can fall on carpets or areas around the fireplace.

How to use a fireplace

So, if you are reading this, you are a proud owner or renter of a home with a fireplace and most likely never used one before. On this page, we will cover fireplace basics, what to expect, and safety tips. We are assuming that you have had the fireplace cleaned and inspected before these steps, as there is no substitution for ensuring the structural and functionality of your fireplace and chimney.

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How to use a Fireplace

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Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are significantly more comfortable and cleaner to operate. These are more modern but still can be found in older homes. Older gas fireplaces often use a key to turn on the gas; it is large (4-6 inches and typically steel); this turns on the burner. A long match grill ignitor can be used to start the fire.

Do not leave the gas on for an excessive time when starting a gas fireplace, as this will result in the violent combustion of the gas and potential harm to the individual. The best method is to light the match when the gas is turned off and insert it lit in the log, slowly turning on the gas until the fireplace is lit. Some gas light fireplaces have a pilot and operate at the flick of a switch. These are the easiest to operate Also, remember to open the venting system flue and dampener before the fireplace is turned on or ignited. Close it when the fireplace is turned off.

  • Never attempt to blow out a gas fireplace.
  • Inspect the firebox for a water leak or excess moisture.
  • To turn off, flick the switch or slowly turn the key to the off position.
  • Always close the gate or glass once the fireplace is lit, even on a gas fireplace.

Gas light fireplaces work as a hybrid of both Gas and Wood fireplaces. Gas is turned on and used to start the fire and heat the wood to combustible temperatures, and then turned off once the fire is going. Never leave a gas light fire gas going indefinitely. This can result in pipe damages, gas leaks, and explosions! Never leave an unattended fireplace going when not home. Minimize the size the fire is when going to bed. Enjoy!

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A chimney sweep is a person who clears ash and soot from chimneys.
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(214) 295-8194

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