How to Light and Refuel Your Stove

Spring may be just round the corner, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about the heating just yet, because we’re bound to have a few more cold nights ahead of us. And even if you’ve turned off your central heating, you may still want to tackle an unexpectedly chilly evening by lighting your wood burning stove.

If it’s your first time using one, you may need a little help when it comes to getting started. Or perhaps it’s just been a while since you lit one and you can’t remember how to use it properly. Here at KG Smith & Son, we’re experts in all things to do with solid fuel, so here’s our guide on how to light and refuel your stove.

We supply smokeless fuel for both wood burning and multi-fuel stoves. Please note that although many of the steps for lighting the different types of fuel are the same, there are a few key differences, so make sure you’re following the right instructions for your kind of fuel.

1. Prepare your stove

Before touching any wood or coal, you need to make sure your stove is ready. If you’re going to be burning wood, a bed of ashes about an inch thick for it to burn on is the best way to start. However, this does not apply to coal and other smokeless fuel, so if there’s ash there you need to clear it out first.

Whichever type of fuel you’re using, you next need to open all the vents – there should be one at the bottom and one at the top. As oxygen is an essential component of any fire, this will allow the air to circulate and help encourage your fire to burn nicely.

2. Choose your firestarter

Newspaper has been the firestarter of choice for many years, but fewer of us are getting newspapers these days. If you have some (old magazines will do just as well!), crumple up a few pages and place them at the bottom of your stove. If you have no newspaper or magazines to hand, you can always use firelighters to get your fire started.

Place some bits of kindling onto the paper – kindling is made up of small, thoroughly dry bits of wood that will easily catch light. Some people will lie their bits of kindling on top of the paper, all pointing in different directions, while others prefer to build a pyramid or wigwam structure out of the sticks. Either way should work well, just choose whichever works best for you.

3. Light your fire

With your newspaper and kindling in place, it’s now time to light it. Set fire to the paper in a few places – some stoves work best if you close the door at this point, others if you leave the door open. If there are no specific instructions with your particular stove, you may need to experiment to find out which works best with what you have.

The idea here is that you want to get a good hot core that will be hot enough to light the bigger bits of fuel that you’re about to add to the fire.

4. Add some fuel to the fire

Once the fire is burning well and the kindling is beginning to char, it’s time to add some proper fuel.

If you’re using wood, begin by adding some small logs, but don’t bunch them up because you want air to be able to reach the kindling burning at the bottom. Close the bottom door, but leave the vent at the top open – you can adjust it to affect the amount of oxygen getting to the fire. The wider you have it open, the more fiercely the fire will burn. 

As those logs start to burn and the embers start to glow, you can add larger logs, but don’t put too many on at any one time, otherwise you’ll risk smothering the embers. So only refuel when necessary – as long as the embers are glowing nicely, there should be enough heat there to set fire to any new logs you add.

If you’re using smokeless coal or fuel, add in a few pieces and wait for them to catch fire before adding more. This time, you’ll need to leave the bottom vent open, as coal burns better with air circulating from below. Again, don’t add any more than you need to, especially as it gets closer to when you’ll be going to bed – you should never leave a fire burning unattended, so you’ll need to make sure everything is out first (glowing embers are okay).

Whatever type of stove you’re using, KG Smith & Son can provide the perfect fuel for your fire. With a huge range of firewood, smokeless coal and other smokeless fuel, we’re sure to have the right one for your stove. And if you’re not sure which of our fuels would be right for you, just ask our friendly team and they will be happy to help in any way they can.

Contact us now to discover more or to place your order. We deliver across the UK, including to Northampton, Cambridge and Oxford.



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