We all have to light the fire for the first time each autumn. Here are a few tips to make an easy job of it.

  1. Have you had the chimney swept? Yes? Then you can proceed. Put your hand over the throat of the flue, do you feel an up draught? Yes? Then you can light the fire. If the chimney has not been swept then call me to sweep it before you light it. If you cannot feel an up draught, or if there’s a down draught, again call me to check the flue for you, it will be money well spent.
  2. First warm the flue before you light the fire. You can do this in two ways; light a few fire-lighters in the grate with just a few pieces of kindling wood, and allow them to burn out, then make and light your fire, but remember to keep the fire low for the first hour or so. Alternatively you can use a gas blowtorch to warm the flue, make sure it is well alight before you point it right up the   flue throat for a few minutes, remove the gas blowtorch turn it off, and light the fire.

There is no magic in starting a fire, but some do find it difficult. Here is how to get it started, and how to keep it burning safely.

  1. Start with some   newspaper. Roll each sheet into long strips and tie into a knot. Do this a number of times and lay the knots in the grate. Add a firelighter as this will aid the burning. Next take some kindling wood and make a cone shape   around the paper, then add just a few pieces of coal or wood making sure there is plenty of room for air to circulate. Make sure you only use dry wood   and coal.
  2. Strike a match. A   long one is best. Set light to the paper and kindling As it proceeds to burn, carefully add more coal around the base of the fire, always making sure that the air can still circulate. Using a pair of tongs continue to add more coal.   And there, you have a nice roaring fire. Sit back and enjoy it. If you leave   the room for any period of time make sure you put the fireguard in front of   the fire before you leave.
  3. Now that the fire   is burning well, each day you should check and empty the ash, if it is   allowed to build up it will reduce the ventilation beneath the fire and it won’t burn effectively.
  4. Never throw rubbish on the fire, recycle your waste, small sweet wrappings and empty   crisp bags are a major cause of chimney fires.
  5. Keep your coal in a scuttle near to hand, but not too near the fire for safety’s sake.
  6. In the New Year if you have been burning wood it will be time to have the chimney swept again. It needs sweeping once during the burning season and once again when you finish using the fire; you are then ready for the coming   autumn. When you will want to start lighting up again.