Guide to lighting a stove

Image of a stove lighting

So you have purchased your first ever wood burning stove and now you are faced with the task of lighting it. In this blog we will outline the best and most efficient ways to do this to get the best out of your new stove.

Tips on lighting a stove for the first time

If you are lighting a stove for the first time it is advised to only light a small fire as the residue from when it was made will start to burn off and smoke. It will take about 4 to 6 hours for the stove to adjust to the heat and be burnt in.

Image of a man lighting a stove
Lighting a stove fire

First it is very important to know how to manage the air in the stove as this ensure the fire will not die out. There are two different air vents in a stove they are primary and secondary. The primary air vent(located on the bottom of the stove) allows the cold air to to pass under the grate thus allowing air to feed the fire. The secondary air vent(located on the top of the stove) regulates the hot air that is introduced to the firebox, which allows the fire to burn at higher temperatures. Top things to remember are to never close the secondary vent fully as it will coat the glass with dirt and create a build up of tar and soot. Also do not leave your stove door open as all the heat will just go up the chimney.

Never underestimate the importance of the right fuel for lighting a stove as it is essential to the success of your fire. It is important to use the right wood, this means that it has to seasoned wood. Seasoned wood has been cut and allowed to dry out for at least a year. This results in dryer wood that burns more efficiently. It is also important to remember that you cant use coal in a wood burning stove. If you wanted to burn coal you would have to have a grate in your stove and these are in nearly all in multi fuel stoves. If you find that your wood is a little damp then fire-lighters can be used to help it burn better.

Cleaning your stove does not need to be done every time you use it. The layer of ash that builds up acts as a bed for the wood to burn on. For an effective fire just remove a small amount of ash every week or so before lighting the stove.

How to light a stove fire:

  • Firstly open your primary and secondary air vents. This allows oxygen to get into the firebox thus allowing for combustion. Then take a few sheets of newspaper and scrunch them up and place them in the stove. Make sure to not have them to loose as they will burn too quickly. If you do no have newspaper you can use tinder. This is usually light, dry material such as moss, twigs or straw. A fire lighter can be used but it is not totally necessary as the fire will get going without it.
  • Add a few pieces of dry kindling(small pieces of dry wood) on top of the newspaper laying it in different directions allowing air to pass through to fuel the fire. Be careful not to put on too much kindling as this will reduce the temperature.
  • Light the newspaper in a few places. The aim of this step is to create a hot core in the centre of the fire bed that will spread upwards and outwards.
  • Once the kindling begins to char it is time to add your fuel. Add in your logs. Once the pieces of wood have caught fire it is time to control the air vents. Once the fire is up and going you can close the primary vent and leave the secondary vent open as this makes the fire operate at a higher temperature. If you find that it is getting to hot or it is burning too quickly just reduce the secondary air flow. Also if you find the fire is burning too slowly then you need to give it more oxygen by opening the primary air vent until it gets going properly. Adding more fuel can be done once the logs have burnt to embrace and there is still a visible flame. Flue thermometers are useful at this stage as it allows you to keep track of the temperature and know when it is at its most effective allowing you to control the heat in the room by using the air vents are needed. These can be purchased in our store at Toss Bryans.
  • In around 30-40 mins you should have a roaring fire and feel the heat coming from the stove into the room.

Ever stove is different and behaves in  slightly different ways but as you gain experience lighting your stove you will quickly learn which settings optimise the performance of it. You will soon become an expert in lighting a stove. The below is a video guide on how to light a stove the proper way.

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Tips and Safety for lighting a stove:

  • When getting a new stove always ensure that you use a quality assured installer to fit your stove.
  • Use gloves when attending to your stove as the handle and control knobs can get very hot
    Image of Stove Gloves
    Stove Gloves for lighting a stove fire
  • Don’t overfill your stove with logs
  • Never open the stove door when the flames are very high
  • Do not use flammable liquids to light your fire
  • Never place objects in or on the stove that may cause explosion e.g. lighters, TV remote or aerosol cans.
  • Have your flue and chimney cleaned ever 12 months to prolong the life of your stove.

For any further queries about our stoves or advice and tips on lighting a stove please contact use on.

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