When it’s cold out, it’s really hard to get warm. Sometimes it takes a hot shower followed by a cup of hot chocolate in front of a crackling fire to get really warmed up. Unfortunately, sometimes when it’s really cold outside, your chimney has trouble getting warmed up enough to start a fire. There are, however, some things you can do to warm up your chimney so that you can get a good fire going.

Why So Cold?

Years ago, most homes had their chimneys on interior walls, and cold chimneys weren’t a problem. Over the past 50 years or so, homeowners started to put their fireplaces on exterior walls. This has led to cold chimneys. Consequently, a cold chimneys make it difficult to start an efficient, hot fire. To warm up your flue, you need to prime it. This is an easy thing to do.

First, grab some newspaper and roll it up into a tube. Light one end and hold it up as high as you can into the damper opening. After a short time, cold air should start to warm up as it moves back up the chimney and the draft is reversed. If your chimney is too cold, this might not do the trick. If this happens, try to open the damper for a half an hour. Even though this isn’t very efficient, eventually the warm air from your home will work its way up your chimney.

Getting a Good Fire Started

Now it’s time to build a fire, and there are several ways to do this. First, though, according to the Bob Vila website, there are a couple of things you should do.

  1. The most important thing you can do is to make sure that your fireplace and chimney are professionally cleaned. It is recommended that you use a CSIA certified chimney inspector like those at the Chimney Doctors of Colorado. This is especially important because, over time and use, your chimney may develop a build-up of creosote, which is highly flammable. Your chimney sweep will be able to clean your chimney so that you can be sure that you are burning fires safely.
  2. Make sure that your damper is fully open so that you don’t end up with a smoke-filled room.
  3. Add a grate for safety if your fireplace doesn’t already have one.

Now it’s time to start your fire. There are several ways to start a fire. However, one tried and true way is to first make sure your damper is open all the way. Afterwards, start with some crumpled newspaper balls laid under the grate. Put some strips of newspaper on top of that. Add eight or ten pieces of kindling on top of the grate in a criss-cross pattern, then loosely arrange six or eight small, split logs on top of this. Light the tinder. When the split logs are burning steadily, add a couple of small logs and one bigger log. Don’t overfeed the fire or you could either smother the fire or make it burn out of control.

Chimney Doctors

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