As nice as a fire in the wood-burning fireplace is, there are some things that must be done for safety, and some items that you need for maximum enjoyment.
Most importantly, you should have your chimney cleaned each year, either by a professional, or if you're the DIY-type and don't mind a little soot, you can clean it yourself with a chimney cleaning brush and pole and some creosote remover. You can also use a Creosote Sweeping Log. It can be a serious fire hazard if you don't have the build-up removed from the inside of the chimney.
With any wood-burning fireplace there are some items that are necessities. There are different versions of each of these, but here are five items that are necessary for a wood-burning fireplace:
Click on the name of the item for sources.
- Fireplace Grate. This allows air circulation and keeps the fire from burning out. A good fireplace grate is absolutely necessary for a wood-burning fireplace.
- Fireplace Screen. Another must. This prevents sparks from flying out and burning down the house. Or just burning spots on the floor. There are various types of screens that can be either attached permanently or placed temporarily in front of the fireplace. The one in the photo is one that I like and would love to have on our fireplace.
- Ash Bucket. You'll need something like the one above to use when you remove the ashes and coals, which you should do after every couple of fires.
- Container for firewood. You'll need something to store the firewood in so you don't have to keep going outside for more. I really love the copper tub in the photo. That's what we use for our firewood, newspapers and kindling. The copper has a nice homey feeling to it. There are many different things you could use for firewood, including baskets, wooden boxes (don't set them too close to the fire!), log stands, log bins, a metal tub etc.
- Fireplace tools. You'll definitely need a poker, small broom, shovel, and if possible a log turner to best enjoy your fire. You can usually find them in a set with a stand, like the one pictured.
In addition to these 5 must-haves, there are a several other nice-to-have and just-plain-fun items for a fireplace. Here's a few we enjoy or would like to have:
- Bellows. We don't currently have one of these, but it's high on our wish list. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly hyperventilated trying to get the fire going good by blowing on it. You'd be rolling on the floor laughing if you saw it happening.
- Fire-resistant hearth rug. We do have a small rug that we place in front of the hearth when we have a fire, but not this specific one. Ours has a couple of tiny burn marks where sparks have popped out of the fire, but that's better than having tiny burn marks on the hardwood floor. You need something to catch sparks, for sure.
- Extra Long Suede Gloves. You don't want splinters or burns on your hands, so please protect them.
- Color Changing Fireplace Color Cones. These are strictly for fun. Each cone provides 10 minutes of blue and green flames. Kids and grown-ups alike love these. They make great gifts, too!
- Plaid wool throw blanket. Nothing is better than snuggling by the fire underneath a blanket. Just add hot cocoa or a glass of wine and it's pure heaven!
- Long Matches Short ones work too, but these make the job easier and safer.
- Extra Long Lighter. Easy, safe, and stress-free. Start the fire with one click.
- Fatwood Firestarter. Convenient and all-natural, this saves time. Or you can just send the kids out into the yard to gather a bunch of small sticks and branches. Either one works fine.
How about you? Do you love a fire in the fireplace as much as me? Do tell!
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