To get your wood stove to light quickly and effectively, use the upside down fire. To do this:

  1. Stack 3 large logs side by side in your wood stove to make a base. Try to get them together as tight as possible. The objective is not to leave a space for the live coals to fall through to the bottom layer. The tighter the bottom logs are placed together the longer and more effective your fire will burn.
  2. Stack a further 3 medium to large pieces of wood (split) perpendicular to the logs and on top of the logs.
  3. Place some fire lighters down (if you use these) and then your kindling.
  4. Light your fire. The layers will start to burn from the top down, creating live coals which will start to pile up on the next level, causing it to ignite. The secret to this method is to create a domino effect of ignition from one layer to the next

Why do it this way?

The kindling burns first and begins to create a pressure differential. This creates a draw in the flue pipe. The wood stove also starts to warm up and so the whole system starts to “fire”. As the draw happens, the fire starts to burn and continues to heat up creating more draw. The smaller wood burns first and then the larger and largest logs. When you are ready, just add more wood. As the firebox starts to warm up, the bottom logs heat up and start to release volatiles. The heat and flames in the layers above, ignites and cleanly burns these volatiles.

In the traditional packing method, the first gases (volatiles) driven out of the wood, travel unburned through the flue pipe forming flammable creosote build-up onto the internal flue walls and releasing unburned carbon dioxide into the environment.

The upside down fire makes a dramatic difference in conventional fireplaces producing a long clean burn and will usually also solve any start-up smoking problems.

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