Most houses in Inari have a fireplace. Fireplaces are normally designed for heating or cooking, not purely for enjoyment. Wooden burners are often meant as a secondary heat source, to complement the main heating during cold weather or to provide heating in case of e.g. prolonged electricity outages. There are a few tips and rules to heating with wood that help reduce emissions and prevent accidents.

Carbon monoxide

You cannot see, smell or taste carbon monoxide gas, but it can kill you! Do not, under any circumstance close the chimney valve until the fire is extinct and there is no hot charcoal left inside the firebox. Have the chimney swept at least once a year to prevent sooth or creosote build-up blocking the chimney. Have functioning smoke detectors installed in every room. Carbon monoxide detectors in every room are strongly recommended.

Use dry firewood

Firewood should be logged in spring, when moisture of the wood is naturally low. Drying the wood in well ventilated conditions, protected from rain and ground moisture for at least a year helps reduce moisture further. Carry the firewood indoors the previous day, so the surface can dry overnight.

Preparing the oven

Open the chimney valve (a plate designed to prevent upwards draft inside the chimney when the fireplace is not in use). If the fireplace has not been used for a long time, the chimney is probably damp and cold. In that case, you should dry and pre-heat the chimney by e.g. placing a few candles inside the firebox for a few hours. Next, you empty the firebox from ash and open the air controls of the oven. Before disposing of the ash, make sure it is definitely cold. Use a metal container with a lid and place it safely away from burning material. Remove burning objects and materials in front of the firebox opening. Make sure you have functioning smoke detectors installed in every room. A fire extinguisher or fire blanket are recommended safety items in every household with a fireplace.

Lighting the fire

The cleanest way to ignite the fire is to start putting the larger logs underneath, then smaller ones and finally woodchips or birch bark. Alternatively, you can use other kindling, like a fire starter. If starting a fire seems difficult, you can reverse the order, i.e. put the fire starter first and the large pieces last. This way the fire starts easier, but will produce initially more emissions. Make sure the fire always has enough oxygen.

Do not overheat the fireplace

If heating a fireplace for the first time in a while, heat it gently. If a cold and damp masonry fireplace is heated too quickly, it is likely to develop cracks. Generally, you only ever fill the firebox half to its capacity. If necessary, you refill the firebox only after the wood has burnt to red-hot charcoal. Once the fire has died, you can reduce the airflow to the firebox until all charcoal has burned completely.

The emergency number is 112.