WITH winter on our doorstep many local people again are getting their wood fire burning.
This informative feature offers best advice sourced from the Firewood Association of Australia (FAA) – a not for profit association established in 2005 to represent the commercial firewood supply industry in all states of Australia.
The purposes of the association are to protect, enhance and improve the long-term sustainability of the Australian firewood industry.
So, what’s the best way of getting a roaring fire going at home?
For any fire to start and keep going three things are needed, fuel, oxygen and heat. In wood fires the fuel is provided by the wood, the oxygen comes from the air, and the initial heat comes from burning paper or a fire lighter.
In a going fire the heat is provided by the already burning wood. Without fuel, heat and oxygen the fire will go out.
When the important role of oxygen is understood, it is easy to see why you need plenty of air space around each piece of kindling when setting up the fire.
Kindling catches fire easily because it has a large surface area and small mass, which allows it to reach combustion temperature quickly.
The surface of a large piece of wood will not catch fire until it has been brought up to combustion temperature by the heat of an established fire.
This is why you need to start a fire with kindling and gradually increase the size of the wood until a good bed of hot coals has been established.
These coals will have sufficient heat to bring large pieces of wood up to combustion temperature quickly.
Whether your heater is new or old, an open fireplace or a combustion heater, you can get more efficient burning when you:
•Make sure your wood is dry – wet or green wood is hard to light, burns poorly and the evaporating water cools the fire which creates smoke.
•Light the fire using sufficient kindling to establish a hot fire quickly.
•Use small split wood to get the fire established.
•Run combustion heaters on high burn (air vent fully open) for the first 20 minutes of operation, and as well as after every addition of wood.
•Allow air to circulate between the logs by not overfilling the heater.
•Use larger logs for slower burning once the fire is well established.
•Don’t block the incoming air vent with logs or ash.
•If the fire has burnt down to just a few coals, re-kindle it quickly with small wood before adding larger pieces.