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For a great fire, make sure that you never burn cold or damp wood. This creates excessive smoke outside and even inside your house. If you don't have a wood source on your property, you can buy firewood in bulk or in bags. Avoid burning treated pine or rubbish in your fire. These create extra soot in your chimney and treated pine contains chemicals, which can be quite toxic in your fire.
Set your firebox with paper, plenty of dry kindling and firelighters. If you can't light it with matches, try using a fire lighting stick instead to reach the back of the firebox. When the fire is alight and roaring, use good quality fire tools to put pieces of wood on the fire. Tools such as tongs, poker sticks, and a shovel are essential for a good fire.
It's important to keep the glass at the front of your firebox clean. Not only does it help the heat to come out, but it makes the fire nice to look at. To clean the glass, use some scouring brushes and warm soapy water. You may need a harsher scrubbing brush to remove soot that has stuck on.
It's important to use a safety screen when your fire is going. This will provide a small barrier and safeguard your hot fire from kids and pets. There is a range of different sizes and styles to suit every fireplace.
It's really important to maintain the flue. This is one of the biggest safety issues with wood fires, because many house fires occur due to a flue that is not maintained. To be safe, check it annually. Put a brush down through the flue or drag a bag through it to loosen all the soot and buildup inside.