Fireplace kindling refers to the material used to construct fire to light up logs of wood in a fireplace. Usually, a fireplace kindling consists of smaller pieces of wood or light materials placed below the logs of wood. It is then lit up so that it can set the logs on fire. Sometimes, the fireplace kindling can be placed above the logs when using a top-down method.
Typically, a fireplace kindling is placed between a fire starter and the main burning materials. Firestarters include materials like a newspaper or sheet of paper. When you light the fire starter, the kindling will start burning before transmitting the fire to the main logs of wood.
What Can I Use For Fireplace Kindling?
So, what are some of the materials you can use for fireplace kindling? There are plenty of options; some from nature, others are bought in the stores. Here are examples of what to use;
- Cedar Bark
- Very dry small twigs
- Softwoods like pine, cedar, and fur
- Tree limbs
- Split branches
Hardwoods are not recommended as they tend to take longer to start burning. A fireplace kindling has to be in small sizes as seen through the examples.
Make sure the kindling has dried properly before using it to start a fire. Wet kindling can cause a lot of smoke and the fire eventually may not start. Here are some guiding rules when picking your fireplace kindling;
- They should not be thicker than a thumb
- They can be as long as from the elbow to the fingertips
- If wood, they should be softwood
- Dry as much as possible
- They should be plenty in supply
You can keep adding fire kindling during the whole process of combustion. This is done when the fire flames start to wane.
Is Kindling The Same As Firewood?
Can you use fireplace kindling as a substitute? No, a fireplace kindling’s job is meant to progress the fire rather than being used to heat or light a place. Firewood, on the other hand, is the main burning part of a fireplace. Combustion of firewood provides heat and light for the room.
They take a little bit more time to get the combustion going on compared to the kindling. However, the firewood will burn for longer periods of time while the kindling vanishes after a few minutes.
Firewood is thicker and longer than fire kindling. Good firewood should be as thick as the wrist minimum and knee-high in length when stacked.
The recommended fireplace kindling should be softwood since it can be fired up easily. The recommended firewood should be hardwood so that they produce heat and light for longer times. Hardwoods burn slowly and have high heat content.
How Long Does Kindling Take To Dry?
A fireplace kindling has to be dry enough so that the fire can start up very easily. Seasoning the kindling is not a must in this case. However, if you need the best service, kindling can be seasoned or kiln-dried.
Seasoning involves airing the drying wood out in the sun or dry place. The kiln drying process involves putting the wood in the kiln to help speed up the drying process of kindling.
The recommended moisture content for wood or kindling is between 15% and 20%. This is according to the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA). Higher contents of moisture make it hard to light the wood and kindling.
You will experience a lot of smoke as the fire tries to burn off the excess moisture. You can purchase a moisture meter to measure the amount of moisture and confirm if the kindling or wood is good to start a fire.
How Much Kindling Should I Use?
You will need 8 to 12 pieces of kindling for a standard fireplace. If your fireplace is bigger, you can add more layers of kindling for a better fire.
The more the kindling, the better the fire will start. However, if the kindling is not enough, you are going to struggle lighting up a fire.
Too much kindling also has its disadvantages. There will be too little space for air circulation. So, place a generous amount of kindling; in a criss-cross format and well spread.
Conclusion: What Is The Purpose Of Kindling?
A fireplace kindling is the secret to a quick fire in your home’s fireplace. Have you been struggling to light your fireplace? I bet you now have the solution to your problems. Kindling reduces the chances of smoldering and your fire going out. Keep adding the kindling until you feel the logs have caught enough fire. Remember to use well-dried kindling for an easier fire.