Mess-Free Fire Starting

A contained fire in the center of a room.

A fire is a tried-and-true way to bring warmth to your home. Not only does the warmth of a fire encourage relaxation, but it's also known for bringing people together. For some, however, the hassle of starting a fire can stop them from putting their fireplace to good use. In fact, according to a recent study from Pine Mountain, Americans say that the most frustrating aspects of starting a fire in their fireplace are that the wood won’t light, the wood is damp, and that babysitting a fire until it gets strong is tiresome. Luckily, there are a few hassle-free steps to help you start a fire quickly and easily for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Keep Safety First

A chimney sweep on a roof.

Americans admit they don’t use their wood burning fireplace because it's a hassle to clean and to maintain a chimney, but cleaning is essential to keep you, your loved ones and your home safe. While this task may seem bothersome, you should be hiring a professional to clean your chimney. I agree with The National Fire Protection Association’s recommendation that chimneys should be swept and inspected at least once a year. You can hire a professional chimney sweep at a reasonable cost with prices averaging between $125 and $250, depending on the type of chimney you have and its condition. Having your chimney swept and checked by a professional may also lead to money savings. You might be unaware of small cracks in your chimney that could be letting your home’s heat escape and costing you more on home heating bills.

In conjunction with an annual chimney sweep, it’s important to self-clean your fireplace and chimney. This extra step can help prevent dangerous chimney fires that are more likely to occur when there is excess creosote buildup in your chimney. Creosote is the chemical mass of carbon formed when wood is burned, and if not periodically removed it can cause a chimney fire. To help clean your chimney, just add the Pine Mountain® Creosote Buster® Firelog to an existing fire in a wood fireplace or wood stove after every 40 fires. When heated, the powder in the firelog changes to an active gas and attacks the creosote in the chimney. Using the Creosote Buster is both easy and mess-free. The firelog stays in its wrapper when placed in the existing fire, allowing your hands and home to remain clean.

Prepare Your Space

Clearing the space around your fireplace before using it is as equally important as ensuring the inside of your chimney is clean. First and foremost, I suggest placing flammable items such as curtains, furniture, and rugs at a safe distance away from your fireplace; this should be at least three feet. If your fireplace does not already have glass doors, placing a metal, mesh screen in front of your fireplace can help keep hot embers from jumping out of the fire and into your home.

Ignite the Fire

A stack of firewood.

Now, it’s time to finally put your fireplace to use. You do not want to undo the work of a clean chimney by using damp or green wood—these are more likely to cause the problem of creosote buildup. Make sure your supply is stacked with seasoned firewood that has been dried for at least six months and can lead to cleaner, longer-lasting fires.

To accompany the seasoned firewood, an ample supply of firestarters, such as the new Pine Mountain® ExtremeStart™ Firestarter, is essential to have on hand to enjoy each fire of the season with less hassle. With the ExtremeStart, there is no need to find kindling, which would eventually lead to a mess. Simply place the wrapped firestarter below your seasoned firewood, light the wrapper at the indicated arrows, and watch your fire come to life within minutes. To see how easy the ExtremeStart Firestarter is to use, check out the following video from Pine Mountain on how to have the perfect evening fireside.

Jason Cameron is a licensed home improvement contractor and host of DIY Network's "Desperate Landscapes," "Man Caves," and "Sledgehammer." Along with his passion for home improvement, Jason is an outdoorsman and sportsman. Jason has acted as a representative for many national brands and is currently a home expert for Pine Mountain.