Top tips for starting a fire in a cold fireplace

Top tips for starting a fire in a cold fireplace

If cold weather is making it difficult to light your log burner, here are our top tips for starting a fire easily every time, even when cold outside.

When temperatures are colder outside it can sometimes be difficult to get the proper air flow necessary for your log burner to sustain a fire. The reason for this is primarily cold air descending through the chimney or flue and smothering the flames. As stoves and fires work at their optimum when the flue or chimney is up to temperature, below are our top tips for successfully lighting a fire when it’s cold outside.

1. Prime your chimney or flue

In order to take the chill off of your chimney or flue, try leaving the door of your stove or fire open for 10 minutes or so before loading up with fuel to allow some of the warmth from the room to escape through the appliance and warm the chimney or flue. Then proceed to step 2.

2. Use the “Top Down Method” for lighting

The top down method is the process of building the fire with the largest logs at the bottom, with smaller to medium pieces on top, and the smallest kindling at the top. By adding a fire lighter on top and lighting the kindling first, it allows the fire to be easily lit and the heat from the kindling to prime the chimney or flue before the larger pieces catch alight. Find out more about the exact steps of this method on our “How to light your wood burning stove page” or check out the video below.


In particularly cold whether or for more stubborn flues, you could also consider an electronic firelighter to light the stack. These are appliances which blow super-heated air at the logs to light the fire, and this has the added advantage of helping to pre-heat the chimney or flue as well.

3. Choose the right firewood

Choosing the right firewood will ensure you can light your fire as easily as possible. Firstly, make sure you’re using dry firewood that has a moisture content below 20% such as seasoned wood or kiln dried wood. If you’re purchasing your wood look our for the Woodsure Ready to Burn logo which certifies the wood as having less than 20% moisture content. If you’re chopping and seasoning your own firewood, see our guide here for more tips.

4. Leave a bed of ash

As wood burns best on a bed of ash, leaving a bed of ash at the bottom of the stove or fire will help to insulate it and keep it from getting too cold before use as well as allow the appliance to warm up quicker. Please note, if you prefer to use an electronic firelighter to light your fire we’d recommend skipping this step.

If you’d like to find out more about our range of wood burning stoves and fires, find your local expert retailer today.

One response to “Top tips for starting a fire in a cold fireplace”

  1. Mia Evans says:

    It really helped when you said that we should choose the right firewood, because it will ensure that they will light easily even if the fireplace is cold. I will keep that in mind in case we have that kind of issue in the winter season next year. We will hire contractors, for now, to install one in the living room area, and this tip would really be helpful because it’s our first time having one in our home.

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