5 Essential Tips for Lighting your Wood Burning Stove

A stove can offer a home the perfect winter warmer during the increasingly colder nights.

The stylish cast iron features of stoves offer the perfect complement to a chilly evening. A wood burner becomes the heart of the home through the winter so it's important to take care of it. There is a temptation to fire up as soon as the weather worsens, however many people don't consider the damage you can cause by doing so.

Lighting your multi fuel or wood burning stove after a long period of disuse requires patience so you can get the most out of your stove and preserve its condition. These stoves are not only an aesthetically pleasing feature but they also provide an efficient source of heating for your home. A stove could reduce the cost of your heating bills if you use them instead of radiators, not to mention the wow factor they add to any room.

Lighting your stove can a be tricky business, especially after long periods of disuse. These tips are essential for both the wood burning novice and veteran for lighting your stove safely and successfully. If you are burning frequently you don't need to repeat these steps as there will be a natural draw from the flue because the chimney has stayed warm.

The flue is cold

Due to months of disuse your stove and flue are extremely cold, especially if you decide to light it when there is a sudden cold snap.

If you light a fire there will be no draw from the flue which means that the smoke will drop, causing your room to be inundated with smoke. This is both dangerous and unpleasant. If the smoke drops this indicates the presence of a downdraft, which means the cold air in the chimney is pushing the smoke back down.


As the flue is cold there is a down draft which causes smoke from a lit fire to drop. Creating efficient ventilation is essential as this will neutralise the pressure from the flue. The most efficient ways to do this are to firstly, open the vents in the stove then open a couple of windows in the room. By doing this you will create a natural pull in the flue.

Use the right fuel

You can now start building your fire. The best materials for lighting a fire are a combination of paper (newspaper is ideal) and wood to create a fast burning flame. Create a layer of paper at the bottom of the stove and then build up your layers of wood over the top. It may take a few times to successful get the wood lit, however the best technique is to light the paper first as the flames will burn under the wood and eventually light it. Make sure the vents are open as fire needs air underneath it to effectively burn. If you want to use coal for a multi fuel, first use wood to create a good layer of ash as this will help burn the coal more effectively.

Looking to save money on fuel? Go out for a walk and collect some fallen pinecones, they’re free and they also burn very well.

Patience is a Virtue

Make sure you keep the vents open long enough to create a sufficient pull in the flue. The cold air coming in from your open windows will create an up-draft meaning the smoke will be drawn up the flue. A good pull makes a good burn so wait until the fire is crackling merrily for a sufficient amount of time before moving onto the next step.

Close Vents

Once you've got a large flame you can close the vents. The choice is up to you whether you close the doors of the stove or leave them open, it entirely depends on what heat output you want in the room. Then all you need to do is keep an eye on the fire and refuel when needed. Closing the vents means the burn will be slower so you don't have to refuel as often.

You can now sit back, relax and enjoy the heat of your wood burner. Maybe make a nice hot chocolate and grab a book to complete the scene.