Only about 10 percent of the heat generated from a wood burning fireplace serves to heat your home, the other 90 percent, including warm air
from the home that the fire draws from
combustion, goes up the chimney. With
these energy-wise tips, you may want to
consider using your fireplace as a luxury
instead of a necessity.
There should be at least 3 inches between the front of the grate
and the fireplace opening.
Fireplace tools for stoking fire and removing cool ashes are
recommended for safety and convenience.
Open the damper before you light the fire.
Smoke in the room indicates that the damper is not fully open.
When the fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed to
prevent air drafts.
Periodically check the damper to make sure it opens and closes
Make the first five fires small and slow burning. Building extremely
hot, raging fires in a new fireplace may cause the lining to crack.
Avoid burning freshly cut wood. The type of wood you burn and
frequency of fires will determine how often your fireplace and
chimney needs cleaning. Burning seasoned hardwood, such as
oak and apple, will help to cut down on soot build-up.
Place the largest logs to the rear of the grate when building a fire
for the best results. Split any logs that are 6 inches or larger in
With a gas starter, open the gas control valve slightly when ready
to start a fire. Use long matches or an extended lighter to ignite the
There may be a short delay between turning on the gas valve and
flame ignition. This is normal and does not indicate a malfunction.
After the gas is burning, adjust the valve for desired setting for gas
log set or if you're using natural wood, turn the valve off once the
logs are lit.
For best results and safety read and follow manufacturer's
Glass doors or screens can minimize damage should there be
flying sparks. Glass doors will decrease the amount of warm air
that is drawn from your home for combustion.
As needed, remove cooled ashes from the fireplace on a regular
basis. This will help eliminate a smoky smell in your home.
Let ashes cool for a minimum of 48 hours after a fire before
Use the cooled ash as a fertilizer for your lawn, flowerbeds or trees.
It is recommended that a professional chimney company clean
soot and creosote from the chimney.
Soot and creosote, a hard, tar-like substance released from wood
through combustion, can be a fire hazard.
You should have a professional inspect your fireplace on an
You have a spark guard located over the top of your chimney to
trap sparks and keep out wildlife. Check it annually for soot
build-up and have it cleaned as needed by a professional.
Chimney caps and rain guards should be kept in good condition in
order to keep moisture from entering your chimney. As needed,
have them checked for rust and corrosion.
As time goes by you may want to have a chimney flashing
checked to make sure it is properly attached.
Fireplace linings may become discolored as a result of normal use.
No corrective action is needed.
Fireplaces may develop small cracks due to temperature changes
and other factors. No corrective action is needed. However, you
may caulk fire brick cracks with heat-resistant caulk.
A properly designed and constructed fireplace and chimney
should draw properly.
High winds may cause temporary negative draft situations.
Obstructions such as tree branches that are too close to the
chimney may cause negative drafts.
In order to create an effective draft, some houses may need to
have a window opened slightly.
If you have a gas vent fireplace, keep the gas key well out of the
reach of children.
Never burn rubbish or large quantities of paper or treated wood in
Never use explosive liquids (gas, kerosene) to start or refresh a
Keep combustible materials away from your fireplace.
Store firewood outside away from your home.
Foliage that has grown too close to the top of your chimney could
hinder airflow and be a fire hazard.