By Julie Curnow

Setting up a wood fire to run overnight

During the cold nights of winter the last thing you want is for your wood fire to die down. So far in our wood heater series we have shown you how to build a fire, tips for getting the most out of it and factors to keep in mind. Today I’m sharing my own tried and tested methods for setting up a fire that lasts throughout the night.

Some people just accept that having their wood heater die down at night time is a normal part of owning one. But the truth is you can build a slow-burning fire that keeps your house warm until the morning – and by that time you will have nice hot coals to get another fire started.

For those of you who have a slow burning wood heater capable of heating your whole home, this is how I keep my fire going 24/7:

  • When you are setting up your fire for the night add one large log and another one, or two smaller ones, 20 minutes later.
  • If necessary open up the damper (vent) for up to 20 minutes to minimise smoke and get the logs charred and burning efficiently.
  • Before going to bed, remember to turn your fan off and check your damper is closed.
  • Bring in a couple of pieces of medium and large kindling and a couple of logs and set them aside in the room to dry out, ready to go on the fire in the morning.
  • Our home fire is just charcoal when I get up in the morning. If this is the case for you too, open the damper vent so the charcoal starts burning red again. You should add a couple of pieces of medium kindling, leave it for 5 minutes and add large kindling. Leave it for another 5-10 minutes and then add a log. These steps have been shown on the photos below.
  • The length of time I keep the damper open and whether I use the fan to circulate air depends on the state of the fire.
  • If my fire has almost gone out by the morning I may use a firelighter to build the fire up quicker.
  • That said if my fire is almost dead and I haven’t cleaned it for a while I may let it die completely so I can remove all the ash and wipe any creosote off the glass viewing pane and insides with a damp cloth (don’t use any chemicals). Watch our video enclosed on how to start a great fire.

The fire has burnt down to charcoal. Open the damper to reignite the embers.

Add kindling to build the fire up again

With the heat of the embers and the damper open the wood burns quickly

Move the wood around and add bigger pieces

Re-position the larger wood to where the fire burns strongest

Around 10 minutes in and the fire is well alight

The fire is established and we are ready for the damper to be closed. 

In winter, the last thing you want to be doing is waking up cold and dragging yourself out of bed to get your fire going again in the middle of the night. Enjoy the luxury of a cosy night’s sleep and get the most out of your wood fire with these simple tips.

Do you have wood fire tips that work for you? Feel free to share them below.

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