Wood inserts and wood stoves are great fireplace options for those that prefer the authentic sounds and smells of a wood-burning fire. Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and dried under cover for at least 6-12 months, registering less than 20% moisture with a meter. Kindling catches fire more easily than big logs, helping generate a bigger flame in the beginning and sustaining the fire for a longer period of time. This adds a layer of protection while also more carefully controlling airflow to the fire.
To start the top-down method, place three or four split logs on the floor of the firebox, all laying the same direction. I purchased the Voyager by Quadra-Fire because I based my purchase more on the look, feel and functionality of the insert rather than the fan. While wood burning fireplaces were a great item in their time they don’t hold up to the efficiency that a gas fireplace can offer. The panel should be about 15 inches wide and as long as the width of the fireplace opening. Using a non-approved door can block off cooling air into the firebox chassis and cause a potential fire hazard.
But even if everything goes right, a fire built this way inevitably creates start-up smoke as wood above the initial flames is heated to the combustion point and then begins to burn, slowly, releasing the gases, tar droplets and water vapor that form a smoky plume which streams up the flue and out the chimney. More than 50% of the heat from your wood stove comes from burning the smoke, and stoves with secondary burn tubes burn that smoke inside the firebox, instead of in your chimney.
The installer should use only approved fireplace insulating materials to fill any gaps between the fireplace mouth and insert shield. Instead of loading logs, you pour in pellets — rabbit-food-sized bits of compressed, recycled wood waste and other renewable substances. I call it fire putty.” A 1″ ball of the stuff (one large whataburger cup) will easily light and burn for about 5 minutes.
DON’T use coal in a wood stove or fireplace unless there are specific written instructions – it will burn, not safely. Ventless gas fireplaces are capable of burning in a reduced vent or vent-free environment by minimizing carbon emissions and detecting oxygen levels within the control valve. The smoke from burning wood contains carbon monoxide, in order to prevent this toxic gas from entering your home leave the flue open overnight.
If there’s a particular way you like to build a fire, by all means do it. But if you’re looking to build a clean-burning fire that lasts for hours, you might consider using the upside down” fire lay. With seasoned wood, correct air settings and proper loading arrangement you should expect almost instant ignition of a new load of wood – a long delay before ignitions indicates that something is wrong. Stacking makes the difference between an easy starting fire and one that causes frustration.
While this method takes a little getting used to, it is absolutely reliable, and when it is done properly there is almost no smoke right from the start. Nice dry softwood makes excellent kindling but remember not to burn treated or painted wood. The key to maintaining a good fire is careful control of the air supply, which determines how completely the fuel is burned. Wind currents that travel up over the roof of the main building may actually shoot down the shorter chimney of the addition’s fireplace. The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross-ventilation, and there is little warmth wasted.