Practical Solutions Tips for Better-Burning Fireplaces

A list of tips and advice for better-burning fireplaces.



Better-Burning Fireplaces

My business is to sell equipment to people who want to get more heat from less wood in their fireplaces. Here are 10 pieces of advice which I give to my customers based on the experience of seasoned fireplace owners.

1. Get to know the damper that is usually built into the fireplace. It can help control slower burning.

2. To cut down loss of heat, get a good fire burning, then bank the larger bits of wood or charred parts toward the center of the fire, leaving a hole in the middle of the pile.

3. Do not continually poke the fire, as this speeds up burning, increases soot, and sends most of the heat up the smokestack.

4. There is an advantage to burning two kinds of wood. Softer, less expensive woods should be put in the fire first. Hardwood should be put on top, causing the oils to heat up. The bark will expand and burn brightly.

5. One log should be wet before being put on the fire. This will put some humidity in the room and slow down burning.

6. A handful of table salt is recommended over every third burn. The chemical reaction cuts down the adhesion of soot to the walls of the chimney as well as the overflow of smoke into the room.

7. After using the salt and permitting the flame to recede, put a cover over the front of the fireplace. When the chimney gets cold, layers of soot may separate from the inside.

8. Fireplaces should have a hook that holds an iron pot above the flames. The pot should contain water, which will boil and humidity to the room.

9. When covering a fireplace for the evening, a nonflammable cover should be put over the fire screen.

10. "Future Use Logs" can be made with water and newspapers. [Don't use the comics or other color pages-they give off toxic fumes when burned.] Soak the paper well, rolling it into log shape. Stand the wet logs on end until they are dry.

George L. Souza

San Francisco, calif.

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