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When we are out and about fitting stone hearths or fireplace surrounds whether traditional or modern in style, we are often quizzed about methods of lighting fires. So, we thought we would share our ideal approach.  Now, there may be many ways of doing this and you may have your own tried and tested method, but for those who want a little guidance, here are our pointers.

The first thing to note is what sort of stove do you have, as there are some differences between multi fuel stoves and wood burners:

  • A multi fuel stove can use coal and wood, and if you are using coal this really needs to have a free flow of air. It is therefore important to make sure it is regularly cleaned out, so that ash doesn’t build up
  • Wood however burns happily on its own bed of ash, so the positive is that it doesn’t need to be cleaned out quite as often


  1. First things; make sure the bottom vents are fully open and the top vents closed (including the turbo if you have one)
  2. Set up the kindling.  We find it easier to place a fire lighter on the grate or bottom of the stove and then arrange the kindling sticks around it like a ‘wigwam’. You don’t have to buy special kindling necessarily, as any dry small sticks will work, but sometimes it is just easier to use the ready prepared ones
  3. Light the firelighter and then gently close the door (so you don’t create too much of a draft or extinguish the firelighter). The kindling should be burning well after a few minutes
  4. This is the moment to add more fuel whether it is wood or coal. Just make sure you pop them in gently without damaging the sides of the stove. Start with small logs or a handful of coal initially, making sure the original kindling fire is not overwhelmed. After a few minutes, open the top vents (but not quite fully) and the turbo if you have one while also closing the bottom vents
  5. Add some larger logs or more coal, as the smaller logs start to burn away a little
  6. Once the flames are really there adjust the vents depending on the heat output you want and if you want to slow the speed of the flames

Obviously, there are many choices out there in terms of wood burning and multi fuel stoves, so as you become familiar with yours, you can adjust the vents and turbos to suit your need.

A few other things to note:

  • Once the fire has been burning for some time and the chimney and fire are hot the vents can be used to increase the heat output of the stove
  • Partially closing the vents will result in the most efficient burn process and blue-ish flames should start to appear in the fire. As long as there is enough oxygen and enough air the glass will stay clear and the fire will have plenty of heat
  • If all the vents are closed while the fire is lit, then the glass will probably blacken, so it is best to allow the fire to die down gradually by not adding more fuel

Finally, don't forget to arrange for chimney sweep to service your chimney at least once a year in an active chimney (depending on how much you have used it and the fuel being burnt). It is also always worth planning it well in advance, as often when the cold weather comes everyone wants their chimney swept, so you have to wait longer than you had hoped to get yours cleaned.

Coulon Stone Tips For Lighting A Fire

TIps for lighting a fire