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5 Easy Steps: How to Build a Fire in a Cold Fireplace

Seems like it should be second nature, doesn’t it? After all, even the cavemen had it figured out. So why does it sometimes seem so impossible to build a fire? A cold, non-primed fireplace and chimney present special challenges. Here are a few quick tips that will help you beat those challenges.


Always protect your family and guests from danger by ensuring that your chimney and fireplace have been professionally swept and inspected before lighting your first fire of the season. You’ll never regret the personal injuries and property damage that don’t happen when your fireplace and chimney are well tended.


This permits all of the smoke, toxic gases, and other combustion byproducts to exit out of the chimney for safe operation. A closed or partially closed damper creates a smoky, potentially dangerous barrier, including the risk of sending carbon monoxide into your living space.


Warm the flue of the chimney by holding a flame, such as from a candle lighter or a rolled up newspaper(lit) up through the damper opening. This counteracts the cold air entering through the flue, literally reversing its direction once the flue is warmed or primed. Lighting a fire without this step can be challenging, and tends to result in a smoke entering your home with the cold air.


Line, or “insulate” the fireplace with a bed of 1” to 2” of ashes reserved from last year or your bbq grill to create a hotter fire.


Begin building your fire with the largest logs on the bottom, working smaller as you go up until the top layer of kindling. Light the fire at the top with your kindling. This prevents a cleaner, more efficient, longer lasting fire, as the fire and smoke does not have to work through colder, obstructing layers above.

Contact Chimney Quest

Contact Chimney Quest today to have our skilled chimney technicians provide Nashville chimney cleaning and inspection. If you need chimney repair or upgrades, we can help with that also. To schedule your appointment, call Chimney Quest at 615-292-7411. Here’s to another safe and fulfilling fireplace season!