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When Your Fire Isn’t Burning as Bright as It Used To

Have you noticed the flames in your wood-burning fireplace becoming weaker and smaller? Are the logs taking longer to ignite and not burning completely during the course of a fire? If so, it’s likely for one of two reasons: you’re burning unseasoned wood, or you have some kind of obstruction in your chimney.

Seasoned Wood for Wood Burning FireplaceBurn only dry logs

Unseasoned logs (not fully dry) are harder to light and tend to burn sluggishly with much more smoke produced. Damp logs often don’t burn all the way through, leaving large chunks of “fresh” logs in the firebox.

If this is the reason your fires aren’t as bright as they used to be, simply make sure to buy only fully seasoned logs. When you store the logs, put them in a place where they won’t get rained on. Cover your stack with a waterproof covering, but leave the sides open so air can circulate and further dry the wood.

If the wood you’re using isn’t the problem, the culprit probably is an insufficient amount of air getting into the firebox.

What fire is made of

To create and maintain a fire, you need three things:

  • Fuel (logs)
  • Heat (from a lighter)
  • Oxygen (air)

Remove any of these components, and you won’t be able to make a fire. In cases where you have the fuel and heat and are able to get a fire going but it burns weakly, it means the fire isn’t getting enough air.

Chimney obstructions

Chimneys are designed to pull an appropriate amount of air into the firebox to cause your fuel to burn brilliantly and completely. If there are obstructions in your chimney, you won’t get an optimal amount of air. The two most common causes of chimney obstructions are:

  1. Debris in ChimneyDebris such as leaves, twigs, small animal nests and the bodies of squirrels, birds, rodents or other animals who have died inside the chimney.
  2. A buildup of creosote, which is formed when smoke condenses in the flue and increases every time you use your fireplace.

Chimney inspection/chimney cleaning

Any time a chimney or fireplace isn’t working as it should, the system needs to be inspected. Air-flow issues generally are easy to diagnose and fix, but a thorough inspection may turn up related or secondary issues that you wouldn’t know about until the problems became expensive to repair and possibly dangerous.

A chimney services technician who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America is the best person to have working on your chimney and fireplace. Inspecting a chimney and cleaning out creosote and obstructions requires specific tools and equipment as well as solid experience in performing these tasks. This is not a job for a do-it-yourselfer.

After your chimney is properly cleaned and you burn only seasoned wood in the fireplace, your weak, sluggish flames should be a thing of the past.

Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, GA, is here to provide you with expert chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, chimney repair and chimney rebuilding services. We can resolve any chimney or fireplace problem when you call (770) 255-1300.

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