First-Time Homeowners: Are You Ready To Have Your First Fire At The Holidays?

Posted on: 18 November 2015


It's the holidays in your first home. Are you planning on using your fireplace for the first time during your holiday celebrations? If so, now is the time to buy the right tools and have your chimney inspected.

Have the Right Tools

If you've never used a fireplace before, you may not have all the right tools. Some fireplace tools don't get used very often, but some of them are necessary every time you have a fire. The most important tools you can own are fireplace tongs and a poker. The poker is necessary for stimulating the fire if you want to keep it going, spreading out the wood when you want to put the fire out and putting stray logs back in place. The tongs can put burning logs back in place if they fall off the grate and can also be used to put fresh logs on the fire. Being able to move and manipulate burning logs is a matter of safety, so don't start a fire without these two tools.

In addition, if the previous homeowners didn't leave you with a grate or screen, buy those as well. The fireplace grate holds up the logs inside the firebox to deliver oxygen to the fire. The screen helps keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace and into your home.

Get an Inspection

If you didn't have your chimney inspected when you bought the house, it's important to do that now. The inside of your chimney could be coated in creosote if it hasn't been cleaned in a long time. It could also be clogged or have cracks in the mortar or lining. Any of these scenarios would be dangerous if you decided to light a fire.

Schedule an inspector to inspect your chimney and make recommendations for chimney repair. You may ask to keep the cleaning optional, just in case the inspector discovers that the chimney inside is spotless. For more information, contact Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service or a similar company.

Buy the Right Products

Some fireplaces come with a gas pipe called a log lighter. This pipe supplies natural gas to the fireplace just to get the fire started. It sits beneath the fireplace grate to deliver flames up into the logs. If your fireplace doesn't have a log lighter, you're going to want to give thought to how you'll be starting the fire. You'll have some choices.

  • Manufactured log. These logs are slow burning, light easily and stay lit without needing a lot of attention.
  • Fire starters. Fire starters are meant to be used with natural logs. They light easily and burn for several minutes before going out, which gives the logs a chance to catch fire.
  • Kindling. Kindling is usually made up of small pieces of lightweight wood. It usually lights easily, but it's not a manufactured product like fire starters or the manufactured log, which means that getting kindling to work can be more of a challenge. If you choose to use kindling to start your fire, consider cutting up some of the leftover cardboard boxes from your move to use along with the kindling.

Of course, you'll also need a good long neck lighter to help you get the fire started.

Once you've got your logs, fire starter, lighter, tools and your chimney is inspected, you'll be ready to have your first fire. Happy holidays, and enjoy!