You’ll know winter is setting in when you start seeing fire burning in your neighbors’ fireplace. Anybody can get some flames going by throwing some logs and matches, but a long lasting and safe fire needs more than that. Here are some practices that help you build a perfect fireplace fire. Keep chimneys clean. Chimneys are perfect spot for birds’ nests, some windblown debris and creosote which accumulate in the inner walls. Before making your first fire, be sure to hire a professional to clean your chimneys inside and out. This will prevent dangerous fires from coming up. Put supplies at arm’s reach. Before you start to light the fire, be sure to gather everything like small branches and seasoned hardwood logs, fireplace grate and screen, matches and the fireplace tool set which includes poker, shovel, brush and tongs. Open the damper. Unless you want your home filled with smoke, never forget to open your damper before building that fire. This could get sticky after months of not being used so better include this in your professional cleaning schedule. Stack your logs. Build your stack by lining your largest logs across the fireplace grate. When you add another layer, be sure that it’s perpendicular and smaller than the lower layer. The top layer should be composed of the smallest logs and few crumpled papers. This is probably the simplest method of building a fireplace fire. Light your first winter fire. After building your stack, get the match and light the crumpled papers and kindling on top. Then be sure to put the fireplace screen in place. The good thing about this method is that the smaller logs are the first to catch the fire and ashes fall down on the larger ones. The pyramid style also gives way for proper flow of oxygen and heat. You don’t need to adjust it often so you have all the time to relax and get cozy. Extinguish fire for safety purposes. You can opt to stay for the night and wait until the fire completely burns out. But if you want to do it faster, get a baking soda and sprinkle it over the fire to cover glowing pieces of logs and embers. Fireplace fire is great in adding warmth in your home this winter. But it’s no substitute for an efficient and well-cared HVAC system. Call Maddox if you need emergency or routine HVAC services.