Winter's on its way, so get that fire going!

With the kids back at school and a definite chill in the air, it’s hard to deny that chilly autumn days are on their way, and winter will be hot on their heels. But don’t despair! For with the cold weather comes the chance to warm up in style, and who could resist the charm of curling up in front of an open fire, either with a good book or a mug of something hot? An open fire or log burner is the ultimate way to relax and make the most of indoor days.

Getting it lit

The first challenge for a real fire is to get it lit. This can seem a bit daunting and puts a lot of people off, but if you follow a few easy tips then you’ll be relaxing in front of a roaring fire in no time.

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First, make sure you have something to get it going – throwing a large log on some firelighters and hoping for the best just isn’t going to do it. You’ll need some good quality kindling, and although the traditionalists might sneer, some firelighters will make the job a lot easier. Remember the fire triangle – heat, air and fuel. A common mistake is to pile the kindling too close which stops the air circulating, so make sure you leave some space between the pieces.

Choose from a traditional pyramid or a tower style, where you build the pieces on top of each other in a rough square. Don’t build too high though! Add your firelighters, and be fairly generous. Use either a long match, a spill or a gas lighter so you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers. Once you have a good flame going on the kindling, rather than the firelighters, you can start adding the logs – start small and build it up. Kiln dried wood will catch easily and makes the whole thing a lot easier.

Cleaning it out

The less fun bit is cleaning it out, but do make sure you do this; make sure the ash is cold first, though! It will make starting fires easier, as the ash won’t be blocking the air supply. It’s also an important safety consideration. Make sure your chimney is regularly swept, too.

So get the fire going, relax and enjoy the winter!