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Ways to Keep Your Fireplace Burning Longer


Winter is a favorite time of year for many Floridians along Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast. The cooler weather is a comforting relief after a hot, humid summer. So many folks in our service area, from Mobile Bay, Alabama, to Pensacola, Destin, and Fort Walton Beach, Florida, are getting ready to light their fireplace for the first time of the season. However, many of our customers are often surprised that a wood-burning fire can burn out quickly. If that has been happening to you, here are a few surefire ways to safely keep your wood logs burning longer.

Chimney Cleaning Pensacola, FL

Inspect and Clean Your Chimney

You’ve probably heard this before, but it is so vital that it is worth repeating. First and foremost, have a Certified Chimney Professional® inspect and clean your chimney before lighting it for winter. Even if you didn’t use your fireplace that often last season, it doesn’t take much flammable creosote to start a chimney fire that can quickly spread to your roof and the rest of your house. Also, small animals like bats, birds, raccoons, squirrels, and even rabbits are known to seek shelter inside chimneys. They also attract rodents like mice and rats, which climb down the flue and enter your house. These animals, nests, creosote, and other debris can obstruct the venting of combustion gases that could cause a backdraft – sending smoke, soot, carbon monoxide, and other harmful contaminants into your living space.

Source Local Seasoned Hardwoods

The next step towards keeping your fireplace burning longer starts with the firewood. Only burn seasoned hardwoods like Ash, Birch, Cypress, and Red Grandis that have been dried for six to twelve months. Again, use local, reputable suppliers to ensure consistent quality. I know it’s tempting when you have a forest in your backyard. But fresh cut or “green” wood has such a high moisture content that it will burn faster at lower temperatures with more flammable creosote. In comparison, seasoned wood, with a moisture content of 20 percent or less, is ideal. It will burn hotter and last longer, with significantly less smoke and creosote.

Open The Damper and External Vents

Now that you have your firewood, you’re probably anxious to get that fire going. After all, it’s always exciting when lighting that first fire and a fragrant aroma fills the air. However, it would be best if you think about safety first. So, always ensure to open the damper fully before lighting the fire. Otherwise, a backdraft may cover you and your clothes in irritating soot. Also, open any external vents to allow the fireplace to draw in the fresh oxygen it needs to keep your fireplace burning longer.

Warm a Cold Flue

Starting and maintaining a fire will be challenging if your flue is cold. Fortunately, warming a flue is easy. Just roll up some newspaper tightly. Light one end and hold it under the flue. When you see the smoke going up the chimney, it’s time to light the fireplace.

Build An Efficient Fire

The last step to keeping your fireplace burning longer is to build an efficient fire using the top-down method.

  • First, lay your larger logs horizontally on the bottom of the grate. Make sure the ends are facing forward.
  • Then, lay a row of smaller logs on top of the large logs at a 90° angle so that they are perpendicular.
  • Finally, build a couple of layers of kindling on top with small twigs crisscrossing each other. Crumple up some newspaper on top of the kindling and light it with a long fireplace matchstick. You can expect your fire to burn for approximately 8 to 10 hours.

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We Can Help Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter

Let’s get your fireplace ready for the cold winter season. Call 850.400.3189 or 850.204.2533 to schedule an appointment with a Certified Chimney Sweep® today. Or visit the Doodlebuggers® showroom in Pensacola or Destin to see the largest selection of fireplaces and accessories on Florida’s Emerald Coast. You can also contact us online at

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