Directions for Lighting a Fire in a Fireplace:

Laying an anthracite or log fire:

  • Before lighting the fire, open a window or ventilator on the windward side slightly to pressurise the room, ensuring that the fireplace will not smoke and to provide sufficient air for combustion.
  • Place two or three layers of paper balls on the grate. These are made by scrunching up individual sheets of old newspaper into ball shapes.
  • Place some kindling (dry and finely cut small pieces and splinters of wood) or fragments of wax and paraffin fire lighters at random on top of the paper balls.
  • Pile one or two layers of anthracite or slightly larger pieces of wood on top of the paper balls. Don't pack to tight.
  • Open the damper to maximise the intake of air from the room. Once the fire is well on its way it is usually best to close the damper partially so as to reduce the amount of heat escaping up the chimney.
  • Light the paper balls in three of four randomly spaced places.
  • To assist the burning paper in heating up and igniting the coals or logs, you can use fire bellows (which increases the amount of oxygen required for the combustion process).
  • Once the fire is lit, gradually add more layers of anthracite or larger logs, taking care not to apply too much too soon, or you will dampen down the fire and possibly extinguish it.
  • When further refueling is required it may be necessary to open the damper again.
Choosing the correct fuel:

  • Use dry, seasoned wood. The moisture content of wood directly affects the way the appliance operates. Well seasoned dry wood (cut, split and stacked under cover for at least 12 months) will give best results and least problems.
  • Wet or green wood not only creates more work for you due to the increased weight when carrying it, but most importantly will not burn efficiently. You will receive less heat from wet/green wood as energy is used to evaporate the moisture from the wood.
  • Ideally, seasoned wood should contain 12% to 22% moisture. Wood with a moisture content of more than 22% will require a great deal more air to light, heat output will be cut dramatically, and soot and creosote will build up in your flue system. In addition, you may have smoke warting back into the room. If you hear your wood sizzle or you can see moisture bubbling from the ends of the logs placed on a hot fire, your wood is too wet.
  • If the fuel you are burning tends to splatter, the use of a fire screen is recommended. Low grade anthracite tends to splatter a lot. Use only high grade anthracite and use large nuts of anthracite or coke.
  • Never use wood of the pine family. Pine contains a very high amount of resin. This can cause dangerous soot build-up and which can overheat your fireplace.
  • You may use anthracite in your fireplace. Buy the best grade of anthracite in order to prevent splattering and to produce more heat.
  • Do NOT use coal or briquettes.