Fireplace  Tips & Troubleshooting

Fireplace Tips & Troubleshooting

Here at Fireplace Freddie, we want you to get the most out of your fireplace. Our technicians got together and came up with the following tips so you can enjoy many cozy nights in front of your fireplace.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, call us at the office and one of our friendly staff will help you.


How do I build a good fire?

  • Make sure that your log grate is at least 4 inches off the firebox floor.
  • Ensure that the log grate is set all the way back against the firebox back wall.
  • Place a regular-sized log along the back wall at the very back of the grate.
  • Place two or three layers of kindling pieces in front of the log, leaving some space between each piece, and criss-crossing the pieces in each row.
  • Take two or three logs and make a shallow teepee, resting them on the log in back. The peak of your teepee should be near the back wall of the fireplace.
  • Light your gas log lighter pipe, or, if you don’t have gas, loosely wad some newspaper and stuff it under the log grate.
  • Once the fire is going, turn off the gas and add more logs to the teepee shape as needed.

What is the best type of firewood to burn?

Use “seasoned” wood. Seasoned wood has been allowed to air dry naturally for several months and has far less moisture in it than freshly cut or “green” wood, which is still moist with sap.
Softwood or hardwood can be burned. Softwood such as pine is less dense than hardwood such as oak. Softwood is easier to get started burning, but burns faster than hardwood.
Hardwood requires more time and heat to get started, but the fire will last longer.

Fireplace with chimney

What should I do if smoke comes into the room when I have a fire?

  • Check that the damper (if you have one) is open all the way.
  •  Look and make sure there is no obstruction in the chimney flue. If you are not comfortable on a roof or cannot see up the entire flue from the fireplace, you may need to call a professional chimney sweep to check it out.
  • If your house is tightly sealed you may have to crack open a window in a back room to allow fresh air to be drawn into the house. The air flow will feed the fire.
  • If you have black, sticky soot build-up on the flue walls that is more than ¼ inch thick, you need to have your chimney and fireplace cleaned.
  • Make sure the log grate is at least 4 inches high and that ashes have not built up under the bottom of the grate. When the air flow beneath the grate is poor, it can cause smoking problems in your fireplace. Also, Make sure that the log grate is set all the way back against the back wall of your firebox.
  • If smoldering wood pieces fall through the wide spaces of the log grate, try putting a piece of screen on the grate to keep those smoking, burning embers off the floor of the firebox.
  • Make sure that you don’t have some other type of fan attempting to exhaust air from the house like a furnace fan or kitchen exhaust. Fans can sometimes pull fresh air into the chimney, which may impede the smoke from moving up and out. Turn off any such fans and see if this makes a difference.