Our Company Blog

Common Fire-Building Techniques

If you own a fireplace but find yourself struggling when trying to build a fire in it, then you definitely aren’t alone. Fire-building can be a tricky and intricate process, but, once you get it down, you’ll be good to go anytime you need to light things up! Learn about a few of the more common fire-building techniques below, so that you’re ready to go this holiday season. At Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney, we’ve got your back!

Three Common Methods

Now, there are more than a few methods out there when it comes to building a solid fire. From the log cabin to the platform to the start method, you’ve definitely got your fair share of options! Today, we’re going to focus on three popular methods that people have been standing by for years: the top-down method, the tee-pee, and the lean-to. Let’s get started.

  • The Top-Down Method: This fire-building technique has gained a lot of attention in recent years, and people everywhere have been claiming it as a surefire to get a fire going, no matter what. You start with your bigger Common Fire-Building Techniques Image - Littleton CO - Mountain Man Fireplacelogs on the bottom, with the ends facing the front and back of the fireplace. Next, add 4 or 5 more rows of logs, using smaller and smaller pieces as you go higher. After that, you’ll add your kindling, followed by the smallest shavings of wood you have. All that’s left to do then is the light the top, and you are good to go! No more adding wood all night long – light it and you’re done!
  • The Tee-Pee: The tee-pee method takes on a more classic approach to fire-building. You start with your tinder. Place it in the middle of your firebox, then form a tee-pee around it with some kindling. Continue to add kindling, followed by larger sticks, all while keeping the tee-pee shape. Next, form a bigger tee-pee around your structure with larger logs. Lastly, light the tinder and let the flames take everything over. Eventually, the logs will fall, and you can continue adding wood to fuel your fire.
  • The Lean-To: Find a long stick, then insert it into the ground at an approximately 30-degree angle. Put a tinder pile under this stick, then surround it will small pieces of kindling. Next, prop up some kindling against the main stick, then add another layer on top of this, using larger pieces as you go. Light your tinder pile, then continue adding logs as your fire burns.

Using The Right Wood

Always remember – using unseasoned wood will result in creosote accumulation, smoky fireplaces, and less heat. You’ll need to invest in extra maintenance, and you simply won’t get the results you’re looking for. Seasoned wood will be dark and split at the ends, shorter in length, lightweight, and it will sound hollow when two pieces are hit together.

Let Us Help You Out This Holiday Season

Holiday festivities are upon us, so you’ll want to make sure you’re ready for anything! Call us in for an inspection today. Our CSIA certified staff will set you up right!

By Jake Johnson on November 21st, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

How To Build An Efficient Fire

Constructing an Effective Fire Image - Littleton CO - Mountain Man Fireplace & ChimneyWhen cold, winter winds strike, most hope to find themselves inside, cozied up by a warm fireplace. Yet, this idyllic image can only be made a reality if you know how to build a top-notch fire. Study up on these tips so that you can build great fires, not just at Christmas time, but all year round.

Prep The Fireplace

Your fireplace needs to be swept at least once per year in order for you to build safe and effective fires. If it has been out of use for a while, you should have a professional stop in to check things over. A certified sweep will keep an eye out for leaves and other outdoor debris that could cause blockages. Any creosote, animal nesting, and other similar material puts your home and family at an increased risk for house fires, smoke back-up, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

You will also want to make sure the damper is open and the flue is warmed up, so the smoke can efficiently escape. Failure to do either of these could leave you will a very cloudy living room.

Picking The Best Fuel

You will also need to ensure that you have picked out the best wood logs you can find. Did you know that every piece of firewood contains some amount of water? It may seem strange, but it takes a lot time for fresh-cut wood to dry out! The goal is to find the pieces with the least amount of water possible. Once they reach a certain moisture level, they are deemed “seasoned” and can be used for your fires.

There are some things you can look out for when searching for seasoned fuel. It will likely be dark and split at the ends. This indicates that it has been drying out for a longer period of time. This wood will also be lighter weight and will make a clearer thunk-ing noise when smacked together.

Build Your Fire

There are countless techniques for building fires, but one in particular seems to be growing in popularity. The following steps will guide you on how to build a top-down fire. These fires are longer-lasting, and you rarely have to tend to them. On top of this, they do not collapse on themselves, thus smothering flames and causing ash and embers to fly up and out. Try this method out today!

  • Stack your largest logs on the floor of your fireplace. Continuing stacking your firewood so that the logs get smaller and smaller the higher up it goes. Do this until the logs are about half way up your fireplace’s opening.
  • Place your kindling on top of this stack. Kindling consists of small twigs and branches.
  • Place tinder on top of the kindling. You could use newspaper, grass, or anything similar that will easily ignite until your kindling really gets going.
  • Enjoy! Once your fire gets going, it will simply work its way down the wood pile, while you sit back and relax.

Contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney for help with any of your fireplace-related needs. We look forward to working with you today!

By Jake Johnson on December 21st, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Fix Your Chimney’s Draft Before Cool Weather Arrives

A drafty chimney can seem like a never ending problem and can seriously impact your ability to enjoy your fireplace. As the cooler temperatures of fall and winter draw closer, now is the perfect time to fix your chimney’s draft. Fixing your drafty chimney now will allow you to enjoy your fireplace when cool weather arrives without worrying about problems such as smoke blowing back into the house or cold air rushing in.

The following are four of the most common draft problems, as well as ways that they can be repaired.

  1. Flue sizing. Bigger is not always better – if your flue is too big for your fireplace, cold outside air and smoke may backdraft into your home. Issues with flue sizing are often seen in homes where a fireplace insert has been installed or the fuel source has been changed. Fireplaces should follow the 10 to 1 rule, which states there needs to be 1 square inch of flue for every 10 square inches of fireplace opening. Following this ratio allows smoke and other byproducts of combustion to quickly move up and out of the chimney without drawing additional outside air in.
  2. Chimney blockages. The presence of debris in the chimney can impact fireplace drafting. Whether it is a bird nest, a large clump of leaves, or pieces of fallen shingles chimney blockages can cause smoke to become trapped in the chimney. When this happens, smoke will often back up into the room and will not stop until the fire is extinguished. Having the chimney regularly swept as well as having a chimney cap can both prevent chimney blockages.
  3. Air tight house. Believe it or not, having a house that is too well insulated can impact fireplace performance. If your furnace continues to run even when a roaring fire is blazing, you most likely have an air tight house. When this happens, the fire cannot draw in enough oxygen to keep burning, causing the fire to pull air from down the chimney.One of the best ways to combat an air tight house is to open a window close to the fireplace. This gives the fire enough fresh oxygen to burn well without drawing in large amounts of cold air from down the chimney. Opening a window close to the fireplace can also help prevent potential backdrafts that often occur in air tight homes.
  4. Burning the wrong firewood. If your fireplace produces excessive amounts of smoke, it may not be a drafting issue at all – you may be using the wrong firewood. Homeowners should only burn seasoned wood to avoid a smoky fire. Because seasoned wood is allowed to dry out for at least six months it has much lower moisture content than freshly-cut wood. This, in turn, reduces the amount of smoke the fire produces.

Drafting issues can impact your ability to enjoy your fireplace system. This year, get your chimney’s draft fixed before cool weather arrives. Contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today to schedule your appointment to fix your drafty chimney!

By Jake Johnson on September 29th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment