How to Operate Your Chimney Properly

Even if you’ve had a fireplace for many years, it’s never too soon to remind yourself and your family of the best fireplace practices to maintain the highest level of safety and efficiency of your chimneys system.


The only thing that should burn in your fireplace is the fuel for which it’s designed. In a wood fireplace you should only burn properly seasoned wood that has been cut and set aside for at least six months. A gas fireplace should be connected properly with the right fuel source and should be inspected by a professional.

Routine Maintenance

You should assume that overtime your fire is burning, your chimney is working. Your chimney works to vent harmful byproducts out of your house while a fire is burning, and this work can be complicated by other things in the home. When you have a fireplace you should educate yourself about how the chimney works, with air pressure and drafts. If this is compromised, it will stop venting properly.

If the chimney is damaged or dirty it won’t work properly either. You can avoid a smoky, inefficient, or broken chimney by keeping up with these important appointments. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends annual inspections and chimney sweeps as needed to keep the chimney system operating properly.

You can even check for chimney deposits yourself in order to determine what type of services you need to schedule.

How to Light and Burn a Fire

  • Before lighting a fire in a cold chimney you should prime it, so that the cold air doesn’t block the smoke from rising up the chimney. This will also make the fire-starting process much easier.
    Master the top-down burn for the best results when fire-building. The top-down burn is recommended by industry professionals. It burns more efficiently and is easier to start than the traditional fire.
  • Only burn properly seasoned wood for a more efficient fire and to create less soot and creosote in the chimney. You should never burn trash or clothes in your fireplace.
  • Control an unruly flame by using the damper and vent openings or glass doors.
  • Invest in fireplace tools that come equipped with long handles. These allow you to work with your fire and avoid accidental burns.
    Keep home decor and debris away from your hearth while a fire is burning. This will prevent other things from igniting when sparks fly from the fireplace. You can also prevent this by purchasing a fireplace screen.
  • While you are reviewing tips for safe chimney and fireplace operation, make sure your family knows the dos and don’ts of fireplace use. Don’t leave your fireplace unattended with children or anyone who doesn’t understand how to operate the fireplace properly and don’t let children play near a fireplace opening, even when it isn’t lit.

It’s our goal at Black Moose Chimney and Stove to educate every homeowner about safe chimney operation because your safety and comfort is our top priority. We can help you make it a priority with your family. To talk to one of our chimney experts at your convenience call 603.525.7905 or contact us online today.