Finding the most effective methods in fire-building can be a challenge. There are a variety of opinions as to what techniques ensure the most efficient results. Lighting a quick fire that lasts a long time and produces little smoke is the goal most strive for, but obtaining these fires on a consistent basis takes time and practice.

A suggested method is the top-down strategy. This technique is said to produce a fire easily with less smoke than you might normally expect. Follow these steps if the top-down method is one you want to try when building your next fire.

  1. Place your biggest pieces of wood down first. Arrange them so that the ends are at the front and back of the stove or fireplace, allowing the airflow to interact in a more efficient manner with the fuel.
  2. Add layers to your woodpile, making each level smaller as you go up. The higher it goes, the smaller the pieces of wood should get. You will want to have right around 5 or 6 layers in total by the time you finish stacking the wood.
  3. Once the wood is stacked, start placing the kindling on top. As with the wood layers, start with the bigger pieces of kindling first, then work your way to the smaller pieces as you near the top of your pile. If you are using a fireplace, make sure that your pile does not extend above the opening of the fireplace.
  4. When this process is complete, simply light the small shavings on the top of your kindling and let the firework it's way down. No more work should be needed and you will be left with an efficient and clean fire to enjoy. Now that you know how to build a top-down fire, you may be wondering why this method works more efficiently. It mostly has to do with allowing your fire to use less energy as it burns through the woodpile. When you start a fire at the bottom, the gases need to work their way through the entire woodpile and end up wasting a lot of energy and heat in the process. This is what causes your fire to smoke.

    Burning from the top down allows things to heat up more slowly and in a more orderly fashion. This allows the surrounding oxygen to intervene in a more efficient manner and causes your fire to burn more naturally, rather than force its way through the woodpile, as it does in the bottom-up process.

    Above all, be sure to be safe when lighting fires. As months grow colder, fires become a more frequent part of people’s lives and they must always be addressed with caution. Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of your friends and family. SirVent Chimney and Venting Service have the tools and advice you need to get your fireplace ready. Give us a call today!