How to Use a Fireplace?


Fireplaces can be a great source of warmth and comfort during the colder months of the year. They can also be a focal point in a room, adding character and charm. If you have never used a fireplace before, it can be tricky to know how to get started. In this article, we will answer some common questions about using fireplaces and provide some helpful tips to make the experience easier and more enjoyable for you!

Step 1: Stay Safe

Before you start using your fireplace, it is important to take some safety precautions. First, make sure that your chimney is clean and free of any obstructions. This will help to prevent fires from starting inside the chimney. You should also have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency. Finally, keep any flammable materials away from the fireplace to prevent them from catching fire.[1]

Step 2: Starting The Draft

Now that you have all of your materials, it’s time to start the draft. The first thing you’ll need to do is gather some wood.

If you’re using a standard fireplace, you’ll want to use logs that are about four to six inches in diameter.
If you’re using a gas fireplace, you can use smaller pieces of wood or even fake logs made from ceramic or other materials.[2]

Step 3: Gather The Kindling

Now that you’ve got your wood, it’s time to gather the kindling. These are the smaller pieces of wood that will help get the fire going. You can find these in nature, or you can purchase them from a store. If you’re using a fireplace for the first time, we recommend purchasing some kindling to make things easier.

Step 3: Gather The Kindling

To gather the kindling, start by picking up any small sticks or twigs that are lying around on the ground. Then, look for any dead branches on trees that you can snap off. Once you have a good amount of kindling, it’s time to move on to step four.[1]

Step 4: Open The Damper

Now that you have your wood and kindling arranged, it’s time to open the damper. The damper is a metal plate that covers the opening to the fireplace. It’s usually located just above the firebox on the inside of the fireplace.

To open the damper, simply pull on the handle or knob. If you’re having trouble finding it, take a look at your fireplace manual. Once the damper is open, prop it up with something so it stays in place. This will allow air to flow into the firebox and help keep your fire burning.[1]

Step 5: Prime The Flue

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it’s important to prime the flue before lighting your first fire of the season. To do this, simply light a rolled up piece of newspaper and hold it up near the opening of the flu. The draft should cause the flame to be drawn up into the chimney. Once you see flames coming out of the top of the chimney, you’re ready to start building your fire.

If you have a gas fireplace, there’s no need to prime the flue. Simply turn on the gas valve and use a long match or lighter to ignite the pilot light. Once the pilot light is lit, you can use the controls on your fireplace to adjust the flame height.

Step 6: Build The Fire

The Conventional Way

Now that your wood is arranged in the fireplace, it’s time to start building your fire. The first thing you’ll need to do is create a “teepee” out of three or four pieces of kindling. To do this, simply take three or four pieces of small wood and arrange them in the shape of a teepee, with the smaller end pointing up. Next, you’ll need to light a piece of newspaper and place it underneath the teepee. Once the newspaper catches fire, it will help to ignite the kindling.

The Conventional Way

Once your kindling is lit, gently blow on the flames to help them grow. You can then start adding larger pieces of wood to the fire, placing them in an upright position so that they catch fire easily.

Remember to keep the damper open while the fire is burning, as this will help to ensure a good supply of oxygen and prevent smoke from entering the room.

Finally, once your fire is burning nicely, you can sit back and enjoy the warmth! Just make sure to keep an eye on it and add more wood as necessary.[2]

The Top-Down Fire Method

This is the most common method for lighting a fire. You’ll need to have some kindling, small pieces of wood that will easily catch fire, as well as some larger logs. The first step is to build a teepee out of your kindling in the center of your fireplace. Then, you’ll want to light the tepee on

fire. Once the tepee is lit, add one or two logs to the fireplace, resting them on top of the tepee. As the logs catch fire, they should eventually fall down and create a nice bed of coals that will keep your fire going all night long.

One important thing to remember when using this method is not to overload your fireplace with too many logs at once. If you do, the fire will be smothered and won’t be able to breathe, which will cause it to go out.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never use accelerants, like gasoline, to help start your fire. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also damage your fireplace.

Step 7: Clean The Ashes

You should clean the ashes out of your fireplace on a regular basis. Depending on how often you use your fireplace, you may need to do this once a week or once a month. Ashes can build up and block the airflow in your fireplace, which can make it difficult to start a fire.

To clean the ashes out of your fireplace, use a shovel or an ash vacuum. Be sure to wear gloves when doing this so you don’t get ash on your hands. Start by scooping up any large pieces of ash and then vacuum up the rest. Once you’re finished, dispose of the ashes in a metal container with a lid.


Now that you know how to use a fireplace, it’s important to keep up with maintenance. Depending on the type of fireplace you have, there will be different things you need to do in order to keep it running efficiently and prevent any accidents.


Here are some tips for all types of fireplaces:

  • Have your chimney cleaned at least once a year by a professional
  • Inspect your fireplace and chimney for cracks or damage regularly
  • Never burn trash or paper in your fireplace- this can cause a dangerous build-up of creosote
  • Be sure to open the flue before lighting a fire, and close it when the fire is out[3]

Choosing the Wood

One of the most important things to consider when using a fireplace is what type of wood you will be burning. There are many different types of wood, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Softwoods such as pine or cedar are easy to ignite but burn quickly and produce little heat. Hardwoods such as oak or maple burn slowly and produce more heat, but can be difficult to ignite. The best type of wood to use in your fireplace is dependent on your specific needs.

If you want a fire that burns hot and fast, softwoods are the way to go. If you’re looking for a longer-lasting fire that produces more heat, hardwoods are the better choice. Whichever type of wood you choose, make sure it is dry. Wet wood produces a lot of smoke and will not burn as well as dry wood.[4]

Extinguishing the Fire

To extinguish the fire, first close the damper to starve the fire of oxygen. Then, use a poker to stir the ashes and embers, being careful not to breathe in the dust. Finally, douse the ashes with water from a hose or pitcher (never use gasoline or other flammable liquids!).

Give the ashes time to cool before disposing of them in a metal trash can. And that’s it! You’re now a fireplace expert. Remember to practice safety first and always follow your manufacturer’s instructions.

What shouldn’t you do when using a fireplace?

Burn just any type of wood

You should never burn just any type of wood in your fireplace. Certain types of wood will produce more smoke and sparks than others. Softwoods such as pine and fir should be avoided as they can create a lot of soot and creosote build-up in your chimney.


Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry are the best to use in your fireplace. They burn slower and produce less soot and sparks.[5]

Overload your fireplace

The number one cause of house fires is an overloaded fireplace. When you overload your fireplace with wood, it increases the chance that sparks will fly out and ignite something else in the room. So, how much wood should you put in your fireplace?

A good rule of thumb is to only fill up the bottom half of the firebox with wood.
This way, there’s plenty of oxygen circulating around the fire which will help it to burn more efficiently. Plus, it’ll help to keep your home from filling up with smoke.[5]

Forget about what’s around your fireplace

One of the most important things to remember when using your fireplace is to clear the area around it. This means removing any flammable items such as newspapers, magazines, and rugs. You should also make sure that there’s nothing blocking the chimney so that smoke can escape easily.

Another thing to keep in mind is that fireplaces can get very hot, so it’s important to use a fire screen or glass doors to protect yourself from getting burned. And last but not least, always have a fire extinguisher handy just in case.

How to Operate a Gas Fireplace

Igniting with a Fireplace Key

If your gas fireplace is equipped with a key, it will look like a large knob on the control panel. To ignite your pilot light, first locate the key and turn it to the ON position. You may hear a clicking noise as you do this. Once the key is in the ON position, hold down the igniter button (located next to the control knob) for 30 seconds. If you have an older model fireplace, you may need to light the pilot light with a match.[6]

Lighting with a Control Panel

Now that you know how to light your fireplace without a control panel, what do you do if your fireplace has one? If you have an electronic ignition system, simply push the button to turn on the gas. Once the gas is flowing, use a long match or lighter to ignite the fire at the base of the fireplace. You can also use a remote control to turn on the gas and light the fire.

If you have a standing pilot light, lighting your fireplace is easy. Just push the igniter button and hold it until the pilot lights. Once the pilot is lit, you can release the button and turn on the gas valve. The flame will come out of the top of the fireplace and you can adjust it with the knob on the side of the fireplace.

Tips on how to use a fireplace damper

Basic Fireplace Damper Operation

Most fireplaces have a damper that opens and closes to control the amount of air flow up the chimney. The damper should be fully opened when starting a fire and left open until the ashes are cool.

Basic Fireplace Damper Operation

To open the damper, first locate the lever or knob. It is usually mounted on the face of the fireplace just above the hearth. On some fireplaces, it may be hidden behind a small door. Give the lever or knob a quarter turn to release it from its locked position. Then, push up on the lever or knob to raise the damper blade out of its housing in the throat of the chimney. You should feel air coming down from above when it is fully open.[7]

When the Damper Should be Closed

You should close the damper when the fireplace is not in use. This will help prevent heat loss and drafts. The damper is located at the top of the fireplace, and most fireplaces will have a handle or lever that you can use to open and close it.

It’s also important to make sure that the flue is open before lighting a fire. The flue is located above the damper, and it’s what allows smoke and fumes to escape from the fireplace. If the flue is closed, all of that smoke will go into your home instead of up and out of the chimney.[7]

Use the Damper to Control Fire Intensity

The first step is understanding how to use the damper. The damper is a metal plate that covers the opening to the chimney. It’s opened and closed by a knob or lever, usually located on the face of the fireplace.

Opening the damper allows air to flow into the fireplace, which feeds oxygen to the fire and makes it burn hotter. Closing the damper restricts airflow and smothers the fire. So, if you want a blazing hot fire, open up that damper! If you want a more subdued blaze, close it partially or all the way. Just be sure to open the damper before lighting your fire, otherwise smoke will fill your home.

Tips on Effective Use of a Damper

To get the most heat from your fire, it’s important to have a good draft. The damper is what regulates the airflow in your chimney and affects how well your fireplace draws. When you’re starting a fire, open the damper all the way. Once the fire is going strong, you can close it partially to help control heat loss up the chimney.

If you have a glass door on your fireplace, open it when starting the fire and closing it once the flames are going strong. This will also help with draft.

Tips on Effective Use of a Damper

Another thing to keep in mind is that wood fires need oxygen to burn properly.

So don’t be tempted to smother your fire by covering up the opening of your fireplace with a blanket or piece of cardboard.
Not only is this a fire hazard, but it will also make your fire burn less efficiently.

One last tip – if you have a gas fireplace, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using it. Each type of gas fireplace is different and you need to know how yours works in order to use it safely and effectively.

Comparison of Steps for Using a Fireplace

Using a fireplace can be a cozy and enjoyable experience. Below is a comparison of steps for using a fireplace efficiently and safely.

Step Description
Step 1 Gather the necessary materials: firewood, kindling, newspaper, and fireplace tools (poker, tongs, and a brush).
Step 2 Ensure the fireplace flue is open to allow proper ventilation. You can usually find the flue handle inside the firebox or on the chimney exterior.
Step 3 Place a layer of crumpled newspaper or firestarter in the center of the fireplace grate.
Step 4 Arrange the kindling and small pieces of firewood over the newspaper, creating a teepee or log cabin structure for proper airflow.
Step 5 Use long safety matches or a fireplace lighter to ignite the newspaper. Ensure the firewood catches fire and begins to burn well.
Step 6 Add larger logs once the fire is established. Place them carefully to maintain airflow and not smother the flames.
Step 7 Use fireplace tools to adjust and rearrange the logs as needed for optimal burning and heat distribution.
Step 8 Enjoy the warmth and ambiance of your fireplace. Remember to supervise the fire and never leave it unattended.
Step 9 To extinguish the fire, use a fireplace poker or tongs to spread out the embers, and then sprinkle a small amount of water on the logs. Close the flue once the fire is completely out.

Explanation of the table:

  • The table provides a step-by-step comparison of the process for using a fireplace efficiently and safely.
  • Each step is described to guide users through the process of starting, maintaining, and extinguishing a fireplace fire.


How does a fireplace work simply?

A fireplace works by drawing air from the room into the firebox. The hot air then rises up the chimney and out of the house. This action also pulls fresh air into the room, providing oxygen to keep the fire burning.

Adding a wood stove insert will make your fireplace more efficient by allowing you to close the damper when you’re not using it and better control the airflow.

How do you burn in a fireplace?

First, you need to make sure that the flu is open. The flue is the opening at the top of the chimney that allows smoke and gasses to escape. If it’s closed, no air can circulate and the fire will go out.

Next, you’ll need to build a small fire using kindling wood and newspaper. Once the fire gets going, you can add larger pieces of wood. Don’t add too much wood at once, though. You want the flames to be moderate – too much wood will cause them to die down.

What do I need to do before I use my fireplace?

Before you use your fireplace for the first time, it’s important to have it cleaned and inspected by a professional. This will ensure that your fireplace is safe to use and that there are no blockages in the flue or chimney.

You should also make sure that you have all the necessary supplies on hand before you start a fire. You’ll need some good quality firewood, a poker or log tongs to rearrange the wood, and some newspaper or kindling to help get the fire started. It’s also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies.

Do you need to open a window when using a fireplace?

It’s a common misconception that you need to open a window when using a fireplace. The truth is, it’s not necessary. In fact, opening a window can actually cause problems.

If you have an older fireplace, or one that isn’t working properly, opening a window might be necessary to help get the fire going. But in general, you should avoid opening a window when using your fireplace.

How do you heat your house with a fireplace?

The most common way to heat your house with a fireplace is by using wood. You can either use logs or pellets, depending on your preference. If you want to use pellets, make sure that they are the right type for your fireplace. Some pellet stoves can only burn certain types of pellets.

Another way to heat your house with a fireplace is by using gas. Gas fireplaces are becoming more and more popular because they are very efficient and easy to use. You just need to turn on the gas and light the fire. There is no need to chop wood or clean up ashes.

Do fireplaces really heat a house?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Fireplaces don’t actually heat the air in your home like a furnace does. But they can radiate enough heat to make a room feel warmer. And if you have an open floor plan, the heat from your fireplace can flow into other rooms as well.

Does a fireplace make the house colder?

No, a fireplace doesn’t make the house colder. In fact, if you have a properly functioning fireplace, it should actually help to heat your home. The key is to make sure that your fireplace is working efficiently and that you’re using it correctly.

What are the steps to safely light a wood-burning fireplace?

To safely light a wood-burning fireplace, start by opening the damper to ensure proper ventilation. Place crumpled newspaper and kindling at the bottom, followed by small logs. Light the newspaper, and once the fire is established, add larger logs. Maintain the fire by adding logs as needed, and always use a fireplace screen for safety.

Can I use regular household wood in my fireplace, or is special firewood required?

You can use regular household wood in your fireplace, but it’s essential to use seasoned or dry wood with low moisture content. Properly seasoned firewood burns more efficiently, produces less creosote buildup, and creates less smoke.

How do I maintain a wood-burning fireplace during use to ensure it operates safely and efficiently?

To maintain a wood-burning fireplace during use, clean out ashes regularly to prevent excessive buildup, use a fireplace screen to contain sparks and embers, and ensure the damper is open during use for proper ventilation. Also, have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually to prevent creosote buildup and identify potential issues.

What’s the process for using a gas fireplace with a remote control or switch?

Using a gas fireplace with a remote control or switch is convenient. First, make sure the gas supply is turned on. Then, simply press the remote’s “On” button or flip the switch to ignite the gas. You can adjust the flame height and turn off the fireplace using the remote control or switch as well.

Is it safe to use artificial logs or gas logs in a wood-burning fireplace?

It is not safe to use artificial logs or gas logs in a wood-burning fireplace unless it has been specifically designed and retrofitted for such use. Artificial logs and gas logs require a gas line and proper venting, so using them in a traditional wood-burning fireplace can be dangerous.

How do I control the temperature and heat output of my gas fireplace?

Controlling the temperature and heat output of a gas fireplace can typically be done with a thermostat control on the fireplace itself or through a remote control. Some gas fireplaces also allow you to adjust the flame height, which affects the heat output.

Can I use my fireplace to heat my entire home, or is it mainly for ambiance?

Fireplaces can provide some heat, but they are primarily for ambiance. While they can warm the room they are in, they are not an efficient or cost-effective way to heat an entire home. They are often used as supplemental heating sources and for aesthetic purposes.

What safety precautions should I take when using a fireplace to prevent accidents or hazards?

To ensure safety when using a fireplace, install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, use a fireplace screen to contain sparks and embers, keep flammable materials away from the hearth, and have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific type of fireplace.

Useful Video: How To Start A Fire And Smoke Free In A Traditional Fireplace Using Firewood


So there you have it! Now you know how to use a fireplace and what to keep in mind when doing so. Fireplaces can be a great way to add both heat and ambiance to your home. Just be sure to follow the tips above and stay safe while enjoying your cozy fire. Thanks for reading!

We hope this guide was helpful.