If your house came with a fireplace, chances are you don’t know how the heck it works. Hint: It’s not just there for decoration. Here’s how to use a fireplace.

Around 60% of new homes are now being built with fireplaces. It’s a trend that’s becoming more popular over the decades, and for good reason.

If your home came with a fireplace, you shouldn’t let it sit unused. Once you’ve experienced the warmth and ambiance of a hearty fire in your home, you’ll probably want to use it every night!

Even if you’ve don’t know how to use a fireplace, it’s not as difficult as it seems. Read on for our list of 5 things to know about using a fireplace.

1. Be Sure You Have the Proper Safety Equipment

When you’re learning how to use a fireplace that came with your house, make sure you have the proper safety equipment installed and in good working condition. After all, you’re playing with fire here, so safety should be your top priority.

First and foremost, install a smoke detector near the area of your fireplace. Since the fireplace is designed to ventilate the smoke out of your home, a smoke detector will immediately alert you if unsafe amounts of smoke start building up.

Another piece of equipment to install before you use a fireplace is a carbon monoxide detector. This will help ensure your home stays free of toxic, invisible gases that can seriously harm your family and pets.

Finally, be sure to have a fireplace curtain installed to prevent sparks from flying out. You should also have a fire extinguisher located close by. Accidents happen, so it’s always best to be prepared.

2. Keep Up with Maintenance

Another important thing to remember when you’re learning how to use a fireplace is to keep it clean and well-maintained. Inspect your fireplace regularly for creosote, soot, and other buildup that could possibly cause a chimney fire. You can get a professional chimney sweep done regularly to help ensure your fireplace is clean and safe to use.

3. How to Use a Fireplace Damper

Before lighting your first fire, it’s important to understand how to use a fireplace damper. This is the metal flap that allows proper ventilation while your fireplace is in use.

Check for a metal flap located near the front of the fireplace. Most dampers will be pulled down to open and pushed back up to close. Be sure the flap is open before you attempt a fire.

4. Choosing the Proper Wood and Kindling

The wood you use for your fireplace should be well-seasoned and cut at least 6 months prior to use. Any additional wood should be stored in an area that is elevated, contained, and easily accessible.

Before you add your wood to the fireplace, make a small pile of kindling. It can be small sticks and a bit of newspaper to help get the fire going. Do not use flammable liquids to start a fire, as these can be very dangerous to use indoors.

Pile your logs on top of the kindling horizontally, in a criss-cross pattern that allows airflow while the fire is burning. You can add more kindling, such as small sticks, to keep it going.

5. Lighting Your First Fire

Once your logs and kindling are prepared, use a long lighter to ignite the newspaper and kindling. Use your fireplace’s poker to help the larger logs ignite.

After you’ve successfully built a fire, remember to never leave it unattended. Before you leave, be sure all flames are fully extinguished.

Final Thoughts

A working fireplace can bring ambiance, warmth, and happiness to your home. Now that you know how to use a fireplace, it’s time to get ready for your first fire!

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