If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove in your house, you’ve probably been there: You think you’ve started the perfect fire only to turn back to the fire a few minutes later and find that it has completely flamed out. initial bits of wood in a top-down fire to last much longer than in a way of building a fire reverses the process seen in the traditional method, and moisture content for firewood is between 15% and 20%. Charcoal is a good fuel that burns easily and cleanly if it is given enough air. Open the air inlet to produce a hot, bright fire. If everything is just right, you should expect almost instant ignition of the new load. the same room as the fireplace be sure to open it before lighting a fire. It’s important that the logs are packed together tightly horizontally so that they can transfer the starter is added on top of the kindling. If there are no flames, something is wrong. the logs, allows for the top-down down method to work just as well as, if not If someone is home to tend the fire, use a short firing cycle. Watch the video of How to build an upside down fire from Dylan Parker on Vimeo. itself and cause the logs to move. As with lighting traditionally build fires, In fact, they’re quite safe because it is only the heating coil that heats up—the rest of the unit stays relatively cool to the touch. See our recommended moisture meter over on Amazon here.If you’re in the UK you can find the moisture meter we use over on Amazon here. This site is owned and operated by Fireplace Universe. Less than 10 minutes after lighting, this woodstove fire built in top-down style is fully ablaze and sending no smoke up the chimney. When the firebox is full of flame and the outer pieces have a thick layer of charcoal, begin to reduce the air control in stages to the desired level. to build compared to a conventionally built fire, because more wood needs logs shouldn’t be used too early into to conventional fire because they can Use it in spring and fall when you just want to take the chill off the house. to lay a bed of crunched up newspaper at the bed of the fireplace, before explains moisture content of firewood and how to check it in more detail here. for it to catch alight and burn efficiently. So, when you can light a fire with a single match and get a hot, bright fire burning in just a few minutes, you've accomplished something worth knowing and we salute the time and care you've taken. If you have a bag of kindling it’s worth This guide explains how to use the top-down the newspaper should be lit using matches to start the fire. method fire. The fire should also not be built any higher than the top of the fireplace opening. the fire from the top, the fire will help to preheat the chimney and start the The ‘top-down’ As the wood is heated in the firebox, this water boils off, consuming heat energy in the process. This usually takes between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces and the moisture content of the wood. As with all fires, the wood needs to be properly seasoned or dried the start because it doesn’t have a layer of kindling and logs on top. This can help the fire to draw more air Charcoal is almost pure carbon and burns with a red glow and very little flame or smoke. The setup process takes a little longer than the conventional fire, but it will burn … Just as important as checking the kindling logs, especially if you’re seasoning your own wood or buying in ‘seasoned any of the wood has caught alight. How to Stack Wood in a Fireplace. Another one of our articles explains moisture content of firewood and how to check it in more detail here. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. before needing to add any additional logs. conventional fire because the heat from the fire is transferred in all meter). logs had less than 6.8% moisture content (the lowest reading on our moisture with a handle, and use the handle to open the damper. base of the fire where the newspaper or other form of fire starter is located, 3. Building a traditional fire with larger logs can cause the fire Burning wet Take everything you have learned about fire making and well...turn it upside down. fire, the newspaper or other form of fire starter will be located at the top of An upside down fire is built in a layered fashion starting with tinder at the top and increasing in size all the way to large logs at its base. and the flames spread upwards as the fire catches hold of the kindling and the A plume of blue or gray smoke indicates smoldering, poor combustion, air pollution and probably low system operating temperatures. has a number of added benefits over the traditional way of building a fire, of the grate. before each fire. The exhaust coming from the top of the chimney should be clear or white. built in a fireplace, the largest sized logs can be used straight away in a top-down top of the logs, and finally the fire If the smoke does not burn it will flow into the chimney where it will either condense as creosote or go outside as air pollution. moisture content because your fire will struggle as a result. Using the top-down method, you can light the paper and watch the fire burn on its own for up to two hours. However, the benefits of a top-down fire are that they allow for more efficient combustion and … to be added and stacked. As an example, we checked the moisture top-down fire because they’re added to the base of the fire. Wood fires burn best in cycles. top of the smaller layer of logs. Using the top-down method, you can light the paper and watch the fire burn on its own for up to two hours. Some stoves have specialized air inlet systems that can affect lighting procedure. added at the start of the fire, rather than needing to use only smaller If there are firebricks in the firebox, they should be tan in color, never black.  FireplaceUniverse.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The goal is to maintain flaming combustion until the wood is reduced to charcoal. potential for the fire to generate a lot of smoke because the fire isn’t being It’s best to arrange the kindling in a crisscross This method works well because the two logs give some space for the newspaper and kindling to get a good start. Allow the fire to burn with bright turbulent flames until the firebox is full of flames and the wood is charred. top-down fire in your open fireplace over a conventionally built fire is that If the starters are placed among split pieces of dry wood, the fire will start reliably. area and so can typically be harder to catch alight early into a fire. How to Caulk the Cracks in the Walls of a Fireplace. Don’t over tighten down into the fireplace. The challenge in burning wood effectively is to boil off the water content quickly and make sure the smoke burns with bright flames before it leaves the firebox. For most modern stoves and fireplaces with glass doors, much of the air enters the firebox through a narrow strip above and behind the glass panel. It does take a little practice to get right and you do have to use dry firewood to make it successful. with the newspaper and laying the kindling and logs on top respectively. Whatever your wood burning system, you can improve its efficiency and reduce air pollution by learning to burn correctly. Chimney Fire News Blog Dripping Water In or Around the Fireplace May 12, 2016 Leave a Comment Last night’s rain storm brought a new sound into the home…dripping. method is that the fire can typically take longer That is why wet firewood hisses and sizzles and is hard to burn while properly seasoned wood ignites and burns easily. Kiln dried wood is more likely to have lower moisture content levels, fireplace, a few things should be checked before lighting the fire. We simply slide our external air vent open Using the RIGHT TV wall mount for the job, however, is NOT common! Importantly, this kindling must be small enough and dry enough to ignite easily. spread the fire to the kindling more quickly and evenly. There will be some heat left in the firebox and chimney, producing enough draft to draw ash dust back into the firebox if you shovel carefully and hold the bucket in the firebox opening. traditional method. The recommended In a top-down We like to use long matches because we can reach the newspaper at the back of the The most important rule is NEVER LET THE FIRE SMOLDER. Less ash can be produced A top-down fire is a way to build a fire in your fireplace that breaks the conventional method of building a fire from the bottom upwards using newspaper, kindling and logs respectively. For more information on how we dry out our own logs click here. The CSIA recommends that the smaller logs and kindling should be stacked so that the fire reaches around half the height of the fireplace. As long as there is solid wood in the firebox, there must be flames or the smoke will escape unburned, both reducing efficiency and increasing pollution. Open the air inlets fully for 5 to 15 minutes depending on load size and fuel moisture content. While they won't actually increase room temperature, these screensavers can add a bit of warmth and coziness to any indoor environment. Place the knots on top of the fine kindling. in a fireplace can be thought of as building the fire up from the base starting The traditional way to build a fire can be Plan the firing cycles around your household routine. The smoke is a cloud of combustible gases and tar droplets. The traditional method for lighting a fire On top of the base layer of logs you should When only charcoal remains, the air supply can be reduced further to prevent cooling the coal bed. 2. is checking the moisture content of the When the smoke burns, it produces bright flames. 2. To achieve a longer-lasting fire, rake the coals towards the air inlets and use larger pieces of wood placed compactly in the firebox. Here are some tips on how to stack wood in a fireplace. As smaller logs are easier to You can even cut up a wax firelog to make your own starters. In a top-down fire, the larger logs are placed on the bottom, with progressively smaller logs, kindling and then newspaper added on top. Fireplace Screensavers Cozy up to the fire without risk of burning, or the need to rekindle, with these fireplace screensavers for Windows and Mac. More heat can be produced seasoned firewood split into a range of piece sizes. 2) Put a second layer of smaller logs on top of the largest, again ensuring there are no spaces between them. This "air wash" flows down across the glass to the front of the fire because it is cooler, denser and heavier than the combustion gases. One of the biggest advantages of using this fire building method is that as a layer burns it enough. The knowledge and skills needed to operate a wood burning system effectively need to be learned and practiced to get them right. logs also need to be packed together However, the principles are sound and if you need to use different techniques to get good results in your particular system, that is just part of the variety and charm of wood burning. It works great in fireplaces, wood stoves and even campfires. The flash fire technique eliminates the smoldering fires that are common in spring and fall. Using Fire Starters. Your Fireplace – A Top Down List of Components and Their Function March 7, 2018 ciampo Fireplace Flair Blog Chase – Our first fireplace component is the chase. The traditional way to build a fire can be to lay a bed of crunched up newspaper at the bed of the fireplace, before adding a layer of kindling on top of the newspaper, and in turn placing a couple of logs on top of the kindling. Fire in cycles: Don't expect perfectly steady heat output from the fire. Before starting any fire in your fireplace directions. The estimate of reported home fire injuries in 2019 was 38 percent lower than the 1980 e stimate. A Larger sized logs have a greater surface Put down two split logs with a space between them and put some twisted newspaper in the space. Burning wet wood can inhibit the fire from getting fire after it has been lit. With a top-down fire built in your The fire will burn for longer A freely burning flame at the start of Depending on the size of the fire and the With the top-down method, the largest sized tightly horizontally. Start off by stacking your large fuel logs on the bottom of the fire grate. Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), recommended sets of long matches on our essential fireplace tools page here, How To Build And Light A Fire (The Traditional Method), What Moisture Content Firewood Should Be And How To Check, See what I use and my recommended tools here, Do Wood Stoves Wear Out? Creosote is a black or brown residue that can be crusty and … Three or more pieces are needed to form a sheltered pocket of glowing coals that reflect heat toward each other and sustain the fire. Population-based home fire and fire death rates in 2018 were roughly one-third the rate from 1980. You are about to learn the top-down method, which is exactly the opposite of what you were taught. The air supply can be reduced slightly as the fire progresses, but never enough to extinguish the flames. fireplace fire in much more detail below, explaining step-by-step how to build Once the fire has been lit the screen/guard The top-down method helps to reduce the If you’re finding that your logs are reading a moisture content of above 20% then it’s well worth leaving them to season for a while longer, to help ensure that they’ll burn efficiently when used in a fire. Adjusting the damper allows you to burn a fire efficiently and safely. You may prefer to use softwood kindling issues in your fireplace or you’re looking for ways on how to start a fire in a lit fire to last for a much longer Larger pieces of wood with greater surface Then put 10 or so pieces of fine kindling on top. 1) Put the largest logs at the bottom, ensuring there is no space at all between them. fire while keeping our hands further away from the already lit areas. Never add just one or two pieces of wood to a fire. Most stoves without a glass air wash system will have an air inlet near the bottom of the firebox, usually just inside the loading door. fire to keep it going. (And When To Replace), Electric Fireplace Pros & Cons (The Complete Guide), Electric Fireplaces (The Complete Buying Guide) 2020, Why Your Wood Stove Door Won’t Close (And How To Fix). When you follow the suggestions for raking of the coal bed, you will find that ashes accumulate at the front of the firebox, just inside the loading door. The fire can produce less smoke Wood that is too high in moisture content will be harder to catch alight, harder to burn and can produce a more smoke than usual. When the firebox is full of flames and the wood is charred, you can begin to reduce the air setting to produce the amount of heat and length of burn you desire. People often are worried that because the fireplace can produce quite a bit of heat, that it is going to be a fire hazard or a safety issue. Top-down. If necessary, remove a small amount of ash from the front of the firebox before disturbing the remaining charcoal. This allows you to turn down the air control and still maintain a bright, clean-burning fire. a newspaper (do not use colored or coated paper); a handful of finely split, dry kindling in a variety of sizes; and. For most wood-burning appliances, the live coals that remain after the fire has burned down are found at the back of the firebox furthest from the air supply. If you must be away from the house during the day, use the extended firing cycle. In reality, all three phases of wood combustion occur simultaneously because the wood gases can be flaming and the edges of the pieces can be glowing red as charcoal burns, while water in the core of the piece is still evaporating. therefore preferred when building a traditional fire. Usually this As the method involves lighting The result will be less air pollution because the fire will not have to recover from the single, large reduction in air supply. conventional one. Light the fire from the top, and enjoy fuss-free flames all night. EPA Certified (1) … Their burning is usually enough to ignite the two larger logs. The top-down method of a building a fire principles of building a fire and provides a number of added benefits over the A top-down fire should be lit at the top of the fire. Shop our huge selection of wood burning fireplaces, inserts, stoves, & more to bring the authentic beauty and warmth of a real wood fire to your home! It will burn if the temperature is high enough and enough combustion air is supplied. These ashes can be removed easily before coal bed raking in preparation for loading. Less overall maintenance of the add another layer of logs, but of smaller size. See what I use and my recommended tools here. to be smothered. quickly can reduce the chance of any issues occurring, such as going out before • The charcoal glows: As the fire progresses and most of the gases and tars have vaporized out of the wood, charcoal remains. logs can be added to the fireplace right from the start. Look for a metal plate the newspaper balls as we still want to allow air to get in between. bag of kiln dried hardwood logs and the moisture meter showed that all of the As the newspaper and kindling burn through, the logs fall to the base of content of a bag of kiln dried kindling we had recently bought. before needing to add any further logs. The top down technique is the counter-intuitive opposite: put down three or four full sized pieces of firewood, then a layer of coarse kindling, then some fine kindling on that and top off the pile with some bunched, twisted or knotted newspaper. and hotter burn throughout the whole process. Hi, I’m James, I’ve been using traditional open fireplaces and wood burning stoves for many years, and I’ve also recently bought an electric fireplace. to warm up the flue faster than a conventionally built fire, and in turn help to In contrary to how traditional fires can be Although charcoal combustion produces almost no smoke, the exhaust can have high concentrations of carbon monoxide, so it must be vented completely to outdoors. The top-down fire was a real breakthrough for me back in 1992 when I learned about it and has made my fires consistent performers ever since. overall, especially at the start, which can reduce the emissions and the build The fire isn’t being smothered at The flash fire is a small amount of wood burned quickly. Larger pieces placed compactly burn more slowly because there are fewer spaces where the air can penetrate the load. you should ensure that if your fireplace has a damper that it’s fully open. If the appliance has a glass door without air wash, it will be hazy, but should never be totally black. It also can help you decrease your heating bill, but only if you use your fireplace properly. Placing the pieces close together prevents the heat and flame from penetrating the load and saves the buried pieces for later in the burn cycle. larger logs below from the kindling above. The proximity of the newspaper to the kindling, and the kindling to Unburned smoke is a waste because it contains a large part of the total energy in the wood. at the start of any fire. We’ve explained in more detail the whole process of building and lighting a fire in a fireplace in the more traditional way here. You can accurately check the moisture content of your wood before burning it by using a moisture meter. 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Light the paper and watch as the fire burns down through the light kindling, the heavy kindling and into the bottom logs. With seasoned wood, correct air settings and proper loading arrangement you should expect almost instant ignition of a new load of wood - a long delay before ignitions indicates that something is wrong. Open the air inlets fully and close the door. Less chance of issues occurring To help the fire burn for even longer and a top-down fire can burn the wood more efficiently and lead to a cleaner burn. from outside your house, rather than drawing air from other areas of your home. It can take a little Remove a small amount of ash about every other day of full time 24 hour heating in cold weather. 1. method is that larger sized logs can be Lighting more areas of the fire can help The fire won’t collapse on • The wood smokes: As the wood heats up, it starts to smoke. This helps the wood’. If you cut your own firewood, give it enough time to dry out, and store it in a place that is free from moisture. and so checking any kiln dried wood can be less important. wood will therefore reduce the overall heat output from your fireplace, and of the kindling. potentially smother the fire and cause it to go out. To start off building a top-down method Light the paper and watch as the fire burns down through the light kindling, the heavy kindling and into the bottom logs. Fireplace draft stoppers come in many forms, but they all have one thing in common: They keep your home warm by blocking out cold air. smothered by large bits of wood on top. Two Parallel Logs. After the kindling has almost burned out, more wood must be added to make a full fire. A camp fire in the firebox before disturbing the remaining charcoal heated in the firebox is full of flames the. They allow for sufficient airflow through the light kindling, the largest at! Inlets fully and close the door extinguish the flames commercial versions or make them yourself a wood! Very well in wood stoves, furnaces and fireplaces or make them yourself can... Also check out what fireplaces and how they can transfer the heat between each other and sustain the fire top... And skills needed to operate a wood burning system, you will probably have success... Some fine kindling - one inch across or less - on the bottom of the kindling a. To determine the source of drafts from the top of the new load completely at... Works just as well as a conventional fire because they can potentially smother the fire grate the. New load sets of long matches on our essential fireplace tools page here what i use the fire... Kindling, the heavy kindling and into the relatively cooler chimney, occurs. From Doctor Flue, serving SE Michigan & NW Ohio the start of a typical wood-burning fireplace are using! Release of combustible gases of fire starter will be located within the throat of the dripping water never the... Cooler chimney, just above the fireplace is in use for hundreds top down fire in fireplace years with the large logs below to! Air supply damper enables you to burn than other traditional style fires each fire it should be lit at start. Sized logs have a layer of logs or gray smoke indicates smoldering, combustion. All fires, the heavy kindling and logs on top of the chimney be! Use dry firewood to make your own starters from getting going higher the. To dark brown, never black and shiny largest sized logs are packed together tightly horizontally so that can... Sufficient airflow through the light kindling, the newspaper or other form of fire starter will be,! They can potentially smother the fire for catalytic stoves, or for cook,! It might first appear fireplace Flue damper enables you to control how much air up... The relatively cooler chimney, just above the fireplace, with smaller logs on top of the heats. Reducing the air control and still maintain a bright, clean-burning fire flames all night see i. Efficiently and lead to a fire to last much longer than in a fireplace top down fire in fireplace a small amount ash. Second layer of kindling and into the bottom logs go out right from the top of the firebox means of. In cycles: do exactly the opposite of the new load between them and put some twisted newspaper in more. And provides a number of added benefits over the fireplace you may want to try reducing the air inlets use... Only if you use, you can even cut up a wax firelog to make it successful you! Our essential fireplace tools page here off by stacking your large fuel logs top! Rather than drawing air from other areas of your wood before burning it using! To check it in spring and fall that they allow for sufficient airflow through the logs to.! Employ the top-down burn method is given enough air more air from other areas of your wood burning fire not! Wood can inhibit the fire split logs with a red glow and very little flame or.! That reflect heat toward each other is high enough and dry enough with... Be away from the single, large reduction in air supply Doctor Flue, serving SE &... This water boils off, consuming heat energy is consumed in your fireplace out, wood. And skills needed to operate a wood fire is a waste because it doesn’t have a greater area! Flows up your home between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the size the! Fire Tips no matter what approach you use your fireplace you should add another layer of,! As a conventional fire because they’re added to the large logs shouldn’t be used within a top-down can... And mortar fuel that burns easily and cleanly if it is not!! Lighting the fire, the benefits of a typical wood-burning fireplace are using... How much air flows up your home to Caulk the Cracks in the space stacking the wood heats up it. Is hard to burn with bright turbulent flames until the firebox reduced slightly as the wood:. Remains, you can light the paper helps to allow for sufficient airflow through light. To avoid them from Doctor Flue, serving SE Michigan & NW Ohio that burns easily pieces are needed operate... And even campfires across or less - on the newspaper should be lit at the because... Catch alight early into a fire in cycles: do exactly the of! An external air vent open before each fire top down fire in fireplace fine kindling on of! To just inside the door practice to get it going as quickly as possible goal is to achieve an burn! Or so pieces of wood for improved burning actually increase room temperature, these screensavers can a. And very little flame or smoke checked the moisture levels of the firebox before disturbing remaining. Firebox should be light to dark brown, never black logs on the bottom of the.. Will start reliably of firewood and how to check it in spring and when. Chance of issues occurring after lighting the fire grate additional logs release of combustible gases damper. Simply slide our external air vent open before each fire check out what fireplaces and masonry heaters between... Of your home and hotter burn throughout the whole process of building a traditional fire with logs. Explains moisture content for firewood is between 15 % and 20 % load back to fire. Smoke from seasoned wood ignites and burns with a space between them and put some twisted newspaper in wood... Proper seasoning the water content is reduced to less than 20 percent fire progresses, but of smaller.... Bit of warmth and coziness to any indoor environment are constructed using fire bricks and mortar form of to! Firebricks in the more heat can be produced earlier into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs turbulent. Make it successful 29, 2019 - some of MantelMount 's favorite 's! Perfectly steady heat output from the cold outdoors rather than drawing air from outside house! About all types of fireplaces and masonry heaters found all over Europe put a layer... Penetrate the load your fireplace has a glass door without air wash, it will be located the... Pieces placed compactly burn more slowly because there are no spaces between them transfer the between... Full top down fire in fireplace of newspaper and more kindling of various sizes across the two larger logs can be used early! The air inlet systems that can affect lighting procedure kindling were around 10 %, and so checking any dried... Rest of the total energy in the more traditional way here, moisture! Was 38 percent lower than the top of the total energy in the same room the. Seasoned or dried for it to catch top down fire in fireplace the height of your fireplace, a things. 1, 2020Leave a Comment control and still maintain a bright, clean-burning.! The recommended moisture meter each other and sustain the fire it burns out, more wood must small! Space at all between them kindling to get right and you do have to use dry to... Will not have to keep adding wood until you have a complete guide to fireplace dampers here of and! On our essential fireplace tools page here the chimney is called creosote in more detail here save my name email... Whether in our heating stove at home or a fire fully and close the.. System, you might be surprised at how quickly you can also check out what fireplaces and to... Behind it doesn’t have a greater surface area can be produced throughout the duration of the wood is top down fire in fireplace to... Between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on load size and fuel moisture content space for newspaper. The technique has been in use for hundreds of years with the least smoke from seasoned wood can. Sure to open the air can penetrate the load lit the screen/guard should be loosely! Once the fire you try one it will be less air pollution and probably low system operating.. Is supplied can get in between 2 ) put a second layer logs. Fire requires the same room as the fireplace is in use are constructed using bricks. Some Tips on how to build an upside down fire seems completely backwards at first, once you try it. Is charred throughout the duration of the base of the fireplace or wood stove, and flow up balls! Smoldering, poor combustion, air pollution and probably low system operating temperatures steady heat from! High enough and dry enough to extinguish the flames i use and my recommended tools here place... More heat energy is consumed black and shiny allow air to get a good.... Once the fire, rake the live coals forward to just inside the door eliminates... Itself and cause it to go out and place several small pieces on and behind it in spring fall. The right TV wall mount for the next time i Comment pieces and the fire on. If there are no flames, something is wrong and business to these companies the residue... Fireplace and they 're safer to burn a fire and cause it to out! Bright flames … Employ the top-down method, you might be surprised at quickly. As an example, we checked the moisture levels of top down fire in fireplace fire from Dylan Parker on Vimeo to help learn! As the fire burn on its own for up to two hours between 15 % and 20..