I recently read an article in Sweeping Magazine by the Chimney Safety Institute of America that I thought I would summarize, simplify and share with you.
The Top Down Approach to Starting a Fire with Less Smoke.
1) Start with placing the largest pieces of wood at the bottom of the fireplace or wood stove with the ends at the front and back.
2) Once you have placed the bottom row, stack 4-5 smaller levels of wood on top of the first layer until the wood is stacked about 1/2 of the height of the fireplace.
3) Next, begin to place your kindling (the smallest pieces of wood) by stacking the smaller and smaller pieces until there is basically wood shavings at the top. (If you wish to cheat a little, you can place newspaper on top)
Note: the stack should not go above the fireplace opening.
4) Light the shavings at the top of the stack with a match (or lighter).
5) The fire burns from the top to the bottom and should burn the wood below.
If you try this, be sure to come back and tell us if this worked for you!
Live in the Northern Virginia & DC metro area and need chimney sweep, inspection or repair help, call Potomac Services Today at (703) 444-5155.